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Liquid Archives 15-18 / Now Don't You Feel Young Envelopes colored with iron oxide, turmeric powder and coffee. Objects with photographic prints in resin and iron oxide. Last picture: letter from the Mayme C. Netherland Collection, Oakland public library / African American Museum and Library. This letter (in the last picture) has kept fascinating me throughout my stay here in Oakland. Among the documents I’ve looked at while studying local history in library archives, I got especially drawn to this one. The letter gave me such a strong sense of intimacy, breathing a sense of presence as well as nostalgia. While this document gave me such a strong sense of hereness, almost erasing the 72 years passed since Mayme sat down in her robe to write this letter, it also gave me a feeling of loss. Most evidentiary is the fact the information and context of historical significance lost. As fascinating as Mayme’s heritage and history is, it’s sparsely documented. **** Oakland is a city that is rapidly changing, heavily affected by gentrification. Setting foot here feels, partially, like becoming a part of that process, however temporarily. A gentrified city becomes an uprooted city, its origins fragmented into layers of signs and symbols emptied of meaning (in some cases, literal signs, such as when local storeowners forced out due to increased rents, find their old signs recycled by new businesses with little or no connection to the community that the previous business was an important part of). My insecurity about how to deal with that is perhaps reflected in the works I have produced here. **** Mayme (Mary) C. Netherland (1877-1973) was born to Oscar Thomas Jackson and Mary Ellen Jackson (née Scott) in Oakland, California. Her maternal grandfather, John Scott (1815-1916), was born a slave in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. At the age of 23, he escaped and helped other slaves escape along the Underground Railroad. After two years of freedom, Scott was caught and sold to the U.S. Army. Scott escaped again and fled to California in 1859, where he married and had three children, one of whom was Mayme Netherland’s mother.