Rebecca and I watched Angad Bhalla’s documentary about Herman Wallace last night. Herman’s House tells the story of the 12-year friendship between Herman and artist Jackie Sumell, a relationship that started with the question: "What kind of house does a man who has lived in a six-by-nine-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?"
In his lifetime, Herman spent almost 40 years in solitary confinement. Together, Herman and Jackie created The House That Herman Built as a exercise in imaginition that became a way to raise questions about the 2.3 million people currently incarcerated in US prisons, 80,000 of whom are in solitary confinement.
Herman passed in his sleep on October 4, 2013, just a few days after being released. But what started as a dream is moving toward reality. Today, Jackie and many others are working to build Herman's House somewhere in New Orleans.
Herman and Jackie's story is one of imagination and hope, and puts the idea of a dream house into perspective for all of us. I hope you get the chance to see the film one day.