On the early evening of September 15, 2018, in Greensboro, Maryland, a small Eastern Shore town, Anton Black, died while in police custody. He was nineteen years old.
There are more than a few lingering questions about what took place that night, but one thing is a simple, profoundly tragic fact: a total of five white officers had restrained Black that night while investigating a possible bullying incident by having him lay face down on the ramp of his mother’s home while using physical pressure to his torso. Within a short period, Anton had died of “sudden cardiac death due to an underlying heart condition,” according to the medical examiner’s findings.
The reasons and circumstances related to Anton Black’s death is still slowing working its way through the courts. But as the country comes to terms with homicides of black men by law enforcement officers after the George Lloyd murder this May, the Mid-Shore community is processing the real possibility that Anton Black might have been murdered that night through excessive force.
Anton is one of the subjects that will be part of a unique art project on the 4th of July. Organized by famed artist Nancy Tankersley, A group of artists, who live or work on the Mid-Shore, will portray a chosen African American who had unjustly lost his or her life because of systemic racism in the United States.
For Easton artist Lori Yates, her selection of Anton Black was an immediate one. Beyond the fact that Anton was local, Yates had another powerful reason to take on this assignment. Over the last several years, she has been a Talbot Mentor to Anton’s young niece. Through this unique connection, Lori not only helped console her mentee in her grief for a lost family member but saw first hand the devastation that kind of senseless crime has a family.
In her Spy interview, Lori shares how she took on this critical and emotional task of capturing this young, vibrant man and the responsibility she felt to “get it right” for Anton’s family and history.
This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Artists for Justice project please go here.