Freeman Vines is a luthier in Fountain, North Carolina. For half a century, he's crafted beautiful guitars from wood taken from a tree used to lynch Black people. Vines deeply moving work is the subject of a new photography book, Hanging Tree Guitars, with tintype images by Timothy Duffy and essays by Zoe Van Buren and Lonnie Holley.
Duffy is the co-founder of North Carolina's Music Maker Relief Foundation, "founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time."
From the description of the book, published by The Bitter Southener:
An artist, a luthier, and a spiritual philosopher, Freeman Vines' life is a roadmap of the truths and contradictions of the American South. He remembers the hidden histories of the eastern North Carolina land on which his family has lived since enslavement. From tobacco barns, mule troughs, and radio parts he creates hand-carved guitars, each instrument seasoned down to the grain by the echoes of its past life.
Along with the book, the Foundation is also releasing a complementary album of blues and gospel songs about race in America.