Highlander Spring, 2014

Highlander Folk School was founded in 1932 in Monteagle, Tennessee as an adult education center. On Labor Day in 1957, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech to a small crowd in the Highlander library called “A Look to the Future.” Documentary photographs and film footage show interracial swimming in a lake that is said to have been built by early Highlander participants. In a time when racial tensions were high, Highlander was openly integrated. People were working together, organizing, and empowering each other—many of whom became instrumental in the civil rights movement including Rosa Parks and Pete Seeger.

After learning that there was a natural spring that fed the lake and provided drinking water for Highlander, we visited Highlander and tasted the water that people like Myles Horton and Martin Luther King Jr. would have consumed. We collected 25 gallons of the natural spring water and made it available for museum-goers at the Parthenon. We made an educational folded poster that provided a history of Highlander and distributed it alongside the water dispenser. The public was invited to drink the water and reflect on Highlander’s history. The project was made as part of FLEX IT! My Body My Temple at the Parthenon Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

In collaboration with Nolan Calisch and Harrell Fletcher