“How do the trees and the whole natural environment evoke so intensely death, blood and the weight of history? How does the present call up the past? And how does this past, with a mere gesture or a simple regard, haunt and torment you as you wander along an empty cotton field or a dusty country road?” Akerman posed these questions in describing the motives behind traveling to Jasper, Texas, the scene of the brutal, racially motivated murder of James Byrd, Jr., to investigate both residents and landscape, seeking answers in a crime both ancient and terribly contemporary.



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