This haunting photograph depicts a memorial for two victims of the Atlanta child murders. Aaron Jackson, aged 9, and Patrick Rogers, aged 16, went missing in November of 1980. Both boys were discovered along the Chattahoochee River, where this image was taken. Wayne Bertram Williams, a Black Atlanta native, is currently serving two life sentences for two of the murders and remains the prime suspect in the broader child murders investigation, but most of the crimes remain unsolved. At the time of the writing of this label, new DNA testing is being conducted, and Williams will likely be either exonerated or convicted of the rest of the crimes while this exhibition is on view.
Leonard Freed captures the drama and horror of these times in this quiet image. The flame of the candles bent over by the wind, the bridge over which one of the bodies was thrown, and the carefully placed flowers create a sense of spiritual sadness. We as viewers are removed from the chaos of the investigation and are asked to solemnly mourn with the families of the victims.
From the 2022 exhibition A Space for Dialogue 104, Southern Gothic, curated by Abigail Smith '23, Conroy Intern
A Space for Dialogue 104, Southern Gothic, Abigail Smith, Class of 2023, Conroy Intern, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 8–February 27, 2022.
Collection of Michael Mattis, Scarsdale, New York; sold to Harley and Stephen C. Osman, Stamford, Connecticut, date unknown; given to present collection, 2019.
This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.
We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: Hood.Collections@dartmouth.edu