In societal struggles, those who “come out on top” seem to get to choose what is taught as history. With respect to racial matters in the United States, the struggles of people of color have simply not been a significant part of historical studies in American schools. The immense failure of Reconstruction on Black people in America is the cataclysm that is most pertinent to the retelling of Easter, 1906.
Lynchings were a deeply disturbing and immoral method of dominating, primarily, Black people and terrorizing them into submission. Behind these exercises in mob violence lay frequently invented claims of crimes. Easter, 1906 recounts one such event that took place in Springfield, Missouri, over Easter weekend, 1906. Poet Robert Bode has collected material from historical documents of the period and created new poems that reflect upon this tragic event. In turn, Bode’s words are here set to music by composer William Averitt for double choir, spoken narration, piano four-hands, and two percussionists.
Performed by the Missouri State University Chorale, conducted by Cameron LaBarr.
A powerful work like this is important because we can easily forget events that have contributed to the lingering blatant and hidden prejudices that exist today. It is through this musical presentation that musicians and audiences can have the tough yet meaningful conversations about how we all can do and be better when relating to others.
—Marques L. A. Garrett Conductor and Composer
Learn more about the story behind this project in the video below: