The text in this booklet is taken from several first-hand accounts of the Crown Heights riot in New York, and originally appeared in Anna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror.
Intro taken from the original text:
Fires in the Mirror is a play created and performed by Anna Deavere Smith based on the outbreak of racial violence in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York in 1991. A seven-year-old African American child was killed by a car in the entourage of the local Hasidic religious leader and, in apparent retribution, a young rabbinical scholar was stabbed to death while surrounded by a group of Black men. In an interwoven series of brief monologue, Ms. Smith presents 26 characters based on verbatim excerpts from interviews conducted with her subjects. The play seeks to facilitate intercultural exchange and public discussion about sexual and racial politics, ethnic identity, and multiculturalism.
The aim was to illustrate the text in a way that conveyed the speakers voice and personality. I chose to design the book to be read from both sides of the story, literally – it has two covers and has no right or wrong side up. Text taken from African Americans and Jews are conveyed simultaneously throughout the book.
Some voices, or texts, are quiet and airy while others are bold and loud, but they all exist within the same environment, or pages of one book, which ultimately represents the Crown Heights environment at the time of the riots: harsh, divided, and violent.