Shifting Ground was an open call for visual reports about how the events of 2020 and 2021 reconfigured our relationship with both public and private space. Select entries were posted on the League’s Instagram account.

Ifeoma Ebo submitted the following:

The Streets are Talking is a series that explores the power of public space to serve as a platform for the amplification of marginalized voices. Each image reflects a lesson from the BlackSpace Manifesto, a collection of principles created by the BlackSpace Urbanist Collective as a capacity-building tool for built environment professionals working in Black communities.

1. Reckon with the past to build the future.

When the words from our mouth fail to last, the public realm continues to say the names of Black bodies that have perished at the hands of law enforcement.

2. Manifest the future.

Street art captures the essence of our collective hopes, trauma, and dreams.

3. Protect and strengthen culture.

When we are tired and weary and can no longer cry out, art on the built edifice continues to shout.

4. Seek people at the margins.

When the streets cry out that Black Lives Matter, they provide a platform for the youth to fight for their rights.

5. Plan with / design with.

The #OccupyCityHall movement has used public space as a canvas to express collective frustration and contestation of power.

6. Create circles, not lines.

The pandemic revealed the face of our true heroes, who exemplify extreme courage in their daily lives.

7. Celebrate, catalyze, and amplify Black joy.

During the height of the pandemic, when we felt isolated in our homes, the Apollo Theatre, a historic venue for the African American community to showcase its talent, used its signage as a way to wish the community well.

8. Choose critical connections over critical mass.

The public street has been used as a tool to celebrate a message & amplify a critical organization in the anti-racism movement.


Ifeoma Ebo

(@culturalurbanism) is a founding director of Creative Urban Alchemy & a board member of BlackSpace.