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Micro Narrative
Shrouded in Dust:
The Unseen Labor of African American Cement Workers
Vyta Baselice
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The measured drawing of a “‘N_____ ’ Camp” is a small speck in a sea of information contained in an atlas of New Village, New Jersey (Figure 1). There are lands and houses with their owners clearly cited, large curvilinear shapes that define quarry perimeters, and patterns that demarcate roads and railway tracks. The camp buildings, likely built of wood, are marked on the page as permanent structures, noting their scale, orientation, and relationship to one another; immediately underneath them is the text that separates the site from all others as distinctive and even threatening. It is this juxtaposition that is most jarring: camp structures meant to be temporary and invisible suddenly appear to be concrete.

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