Praise House Project

Standing on Hallowed Ground

A multimedia site-specific installation by visual artist activist, Charmaine Minniefield to honor the African American history in communities.

Exterior image by William Fagan Jr. of the Praise House Project at Oakland Cemetery, presented by Flux Projects. in 2021.

The Praise House Project recieves the prestigeous National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant for 2022.

Interior image by Julie Yarbrough of the Praise House at Oakland Cemetery, presented by Flux Projects.

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DeKalb History Center
January 2022

As a site-specific installation, a Praise House will permanently replace the Confederate Monument, recently removed from Decatur Square. 

South-View Cemetery
Juneteenth 2022

Honoring the African American history of Atlanta at South-View, the final resting place of many prominant Atlantans.

Emory Univserity
Fall 2022

Emory University will host the Praise House Project on its Decatur Campus to acknowledge its role in slavery and dissposession

and to honor the life work of Dr. Pellom McDaniels. 


REMEMBERING FREEDOM

The Ring Shout is a traditional African American worship and gathering practice with origins in West African traditional ceremony.  The Ring Shout was reborn during enslavement in the American South in resistance to laws which prohibited those enslaved from gathering, except for worship, and forbid many forms of cultural expression, including drumming.  These laws were imposed in an effort to systematically erase cultural identity, discourage communication, and ultimately dismantle community.

In response, those enslaved created Praise Houses—small usually wooden structures (barns or shacks) used for worship throughout the Southeast.  As an act of resistance, congregants would gather in circle to stomp or shout (full body rhythmic movement) upon the wooden floors, creating a communal drum—secretly preserving their cultural identities. asserting their collective prayers and affirming their indigenous traditions.  These small hidden worship spaces are thought to have beeen precursors to the first Black churches in the Western world.

The Praise House Project celebrates the endurance of these traditions in contemporary dance, music, and spoken and written word as testament to the resilience of a people and inspiration for freedom today. The work takes the form of public art as site-specific installations of a replicas of a praise houses which honor the African-American history of the communities in which they reside.


Blacks had grown tired of the disrespect they were forced to endure in order to bury their family members and friends. They had to enter cemeteries through back gates, and even wade through swamps to conduct funeral services. They were told “If you don’t’ like it, start your own cemetery.” And so they did.

Learn the history of South-View Cemetery

Preview Event: REUNION

A celebration of the African American history of Atlanta.

Sponsored by Elevate Atlanta Public Arts Festival, presented by the City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs.

Download the song: Rite to Freedom

By vocalist Malesha Jessie Taylor and musician Salah Ananse as the group, We Are Djeli (griot), this song was recorded within the santuary of historic First Congregational Church as the sound score for the Praise House Project, which premiered at Oakland Cemetary, presented by Flux Projects in 2021.

Buy the song today. Your purchase will support the Praise House Project and its causes.  

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Collaborators

Kimberly Binns, Video Collage

Opal Moore, Essey and forethcoming Anthology

Malesha Jessie Taylor and Salah Ananse as We Are Djeli, Musical Score

Santiago Paramo, Sound Installation

Previous Collaborators

Muthi Reid, Soundscape

Julie B. Johnson, Dance

Toni Blackman, Spoken Word


Sponsors
The Praise House Project in 2022 in DeKalb County, South-View and on Emory's campus is made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Emory University and Emory Arts, The Stuart A. Rose Library, Carlos Museum, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Troutman Perry, CD Moody Construction and DeKalb County.

Community partners
Historic South-View Preservation Foundation, the New Freedom Project, Flux Projects and Culture Centers International.