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The Necessity of French Cafés, 2016

Paris, France

A digital archive of essays, personal narratives, photographs, drawings and poems.



The Necessity of French Cafés is a documentary project that acknowledges and celebrates African-Americans living in Paris, France through the collection of their narratives and a digital archive of essays, photographs, and excerpts of interviews.  The project takes its name from a line in James Baldwin's essay, Equal in Paris, where Baldwin writes about his living quarters: "The moment I began living in French hotels I understood the necessity of French cafés."


The Necessity of French Cafés, An Installation, 2016
Espresso cups, coffee.


Wedgeworth learned of the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling during her 2016 summer residency in Paris, France. Having been acutely aware of her presence in Paris and the seemingly lack of micro-aggressions, she wondered if Philando Castile and Alton Sterling had visited Paris and become aware that their black American bodies were not on the radar of the French Police unlike their experiences in the United States, would their lives have been different?  Would they have decided to stay in Paris like many black Americans before them? Would they still be alive?

Each cup represents a black American killed by American police between June 1, 2016 - July 9, 2016.

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