Through Sleet’s Eye’s Fest Returns to Honor Pulitzer Prize Winning Owensboro Native
Last January, folks from all over the United States came to Owensboro to celebrate the life and legacy of Moneta Sleet Jr. "Through Sleet's Eyes Fest" was organized by a group from Leadership Owensboro as a way to honor a man who until the past few years had not gotten the recognition on a local level that he so deserved.
Who is Moneta Sleet Jr.?
I learned about Mr. Sleet when I was in high school. He was added to the Owensboro High School Hall of Fame my freshman year, I believe, but it was the first time I really learned about his alma mater, Western High School where he began his journey in photojournalism. Continuing to Kentucky University, and New York University, he excelled in everything he did.
After serving in WW2, he began working for Ebony magazine taking pictures of iconic musicians, and athletes like Muhammed Ali, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, and other historical figures before documenting the Civil Rights Movement. Sleet traveled with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for 13 years and we have him to thank for many moments in time captured by his camera and his artistic eye which we can learn from. The march from Selma to Montgomery, MLK's I Have a Dream Speech in Washington D.C. to name a couple. His most well-known photograph would be the one that earned him the Pulitzer Prize, a heartbreaking look at Coretta Scott King and little Bernice King at Dr. King's funeral.
Through Sleet's Eyes
The story behind Sleet's relationship with the King family as well as how that photo came to be is truly incredible. Thanks to the organizers behind the festival, a documentary was also made about Moneta Sleet Jr. with interviews from his counterparts through the years who knew and respected him immensely. This documentary "Through Sleet's Eyes" will be showing this Friday at the Riverpark Center.
Jazz...The Soundtrack of Civil Rights at the Riverpark Center this January 5th, will allow you to experience Sleet's incredible photography as well as enjoy live Jazz music by the Jason Tiemann Trio. Grammy-nominated musicians from NYC which you can learn more about here.
This event will have some other unique experiences like spoken word from these moving performers, Kali Speaks and Cocoa Flo.
I will be there incorporating their lyrical phrases into art with a Live Lettering Project. Here are some of the prompts that will serve as inspiration if you'd like to contribute.
Tickets are required for admission into the jazz performance and are $20 each. They can be purchased by visiting RiverPark Center's website or calling the RiverPark Center box office. 270-687-2770
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Gallery Credit: Jacob Osborn