ALLISON JANAE HAMILTON
American, b. 1984
The peo-ple cried mer-cy in the storm, 2018
Tambourines and steel armature
18 ft. x 36 in. x 36 in. (548.6 x 91.4 x 91.4 cm)
Courtesy the artist
This monumental stack of tambourines is titled after lyrics from the song “Florida Storm,” a hymn written in 1928 by Judge Jackson in response to the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 that ravaged the artist’s home state of Florida and southeastern Alabama. The song became popular in the South after more than five thousand black migrant workers were killed when the Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 devastated Florida, an event that would later serve as a backdrop for Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. The tambourine, a symbol of celebration, war, storytelling, and spirituality, conjures the various ways that Southern black communities have interfaced with storms both natural and humancaused, linking these two hurricanes of the early twentieth century with contemporary discourse on cultural perseverance.