Talley Beatty choreographed and performed Mourner’s Bench in 1947. It represents the anguish and loss for former slaves, now free men, killed during the Reconstruction Era at the beginning of the rise of the Klu Klux Klan. Beatty explained to me, “People were murdered by the Klan and at daybreak their relatives would find their bodies in the fields still covered in the morning dew.”
W. Dean Arnett of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performed opening night at the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina on June 21st, 1990. The Mississippi Mass Choir sings the spiritual Balm and Gilead A cappella. At the end of the performance Beatty comes on stage and taking a bow.
In photo: Jerome Stigler
Rodney K Hurley photographer