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Exploring the Dream: When Cotton Was King

Exploring the DreamIn 2002, the Arizona Humanities Council and the City of Chandler commissioned Oswald G. Harris to do this exhibition, "Exploring the Dream – When Cotton was King."

The 24 photographs in this exhibit were selected from more than 700 frames of film shot by Oswald Harris. His wife, Lyda created the bios from more than 30 hours of taped interviews she did with the honorees. At times Lyda and Oswald were almost moved to tears by their stories. Yet, it was not all pain. James Arbuckle provided some of the more joyous moments, they said. 

At the premier of the exhibit, Oswald Harris said:

"This exhibition is a true testament to the decency, the dignity and the determination of the human spirit. Those are the qualities we tried to capture in these images and in the words that accompany them. Many of our honorees have waited almost sixty years to have their stories told. This was truly a wonderful undertaking from which we learned a great deal about early life in Chandler. We have come a long way."

Oswald and Lyda extend their thanks to all who worked so hard to make this exhibit a reality, including: Library Manager Karen Drake, Information Officer David Bigos, Council Assistant Brian Bosshardt, Former Mayor Coy Payne, and Councilmember Phill Westbrooks.

Finally, a heart felt “Thank You” to all the honorees for sharing your stories and your lives with us.

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