National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, The Griot Museum of Black History is hosting a series of events Saturday February 9, 2019.


As part of The Griot’s observance of Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Erise Williams and De Nichols will come together to discuss their mirror caskets and connections between art, activism, HIV/AIDS, and struggles for Black well-being.

Erise Williams will discuss the 2002 mock-funeral held in East St. Louis where Blacks Assisting Blacks with AIDS (BABA) used a mirrored casket to protest the continued high death rate in the African American community from HIV/AIDS. 

De Nichols will discuss the 2014 Mirror Casket Project “a visual structure, performance, and call to action for justice in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.”

Both projects independently used the powerful visual media of a mirrored casket to connect and send a message.  For the first time these two activists will discuss the similarities and convergences of these art protest actions.  Q&A and open discussion to follow. 

Throughout the day February 9 are on-going activities including:  information tables from local HIV/AIDS groups, art projects, community artifact “hackathon” in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition, and free confidential HIV and Hep C testing and counseling.

And on the following Saturdays (February 16 and 23) return to The Griot for Family Fun Quilting events, where visitors can make fabric art squares to be included in the planned summer exhibit. 

Health screenings are free of charge. Tour The Griot’s permanent exhibitions for $7.50/adult and $3.75/child, with one child admitted free with each adult admission. Information about the event - for full text see facebook event

The Washington University Libraries (Department of Special Collections) is one of several community groups partnered with The Griot Museum on the Impact HIV/AIDS Initiative, an arts and culture community awareness initiative that will use exhibition, storytelling, visual art, mapping, oral history, and other forms of expression to explore the ongoing relationship between HIV/AIDS and the St. Louis region’s African American community.


About the author

Miranda Rectenwald is Curator of Local History, Washington University Special Collections. More info.