Faded black and white photograph of a brick building with the a sign reading Williams Dreamland Theatre on the front. A box office and movie posters are visible.
Williams Dreamland Theatre (Tulsa, OK)

On the evening of May 31st, I was busy with a class in Typewriting until about 9 P. M. After my pupils were gone I immediately began reading a book which I was very anxious to finish (must admit, however, that I was never able to complete it), so did not notice the excitement until a late hour. The evening being a pleasant one, my little girl had not retired, but was watching the people from the window. Occasionally she would call to me, “Mother, look at the cars full of people.” I would reply, “Baby, do not disturb me, I want to read.” Finally she said, “Mother, I see men with guns.” Then I ran to the window and looked out. There I saw many people gathered in little squads talking excitedly. Going down stairs to the street I was told of the threatened lynching and that some of our group were going to give added protection to the boy.

Photograph of a small row house painted with crude but rhythmic shapes, from the first exhibition at Project Row Houses in Houston.
Project Row Houses

66 Signs of Neon exists on several levels as an art exhibition dominated by assemblages of artifacts of the Watts riots (August 1965); as a one-to-one format of communication between individuals who otherwise would not or could not communicate; as an evolving system of philosophy. It began as an expression of the necessity for art education, affirming the importance of this avenue of self-expression to individuals in the community of Watts. Noah Purifoy and Judson Powell began with six assemblages created from the lead drippings of melted neon signs, artifacts of the riots.

Page from a catalog of the exhibition '66 Signs of Neon', showing 3 assemblage sculptures made from detritus of the Watts riots, and text describing the origins of the exhibit.
66 Signs of Neon catalog