The project that inspired the film – hermans house
In the wake of Herman’s death many questions have understandably arisen as to the future of the project.
Jackie Sumell and the Herman’s House Team is committed to the vision of Herman Wallace’s Dream Home. As per his design, Herman’s House will serve as a community center in New Orleans, maintained by an existing network of volunteers. We are now in the process of applying for property through the City of New Orleans. It is an exciting time. We are also looking to republish the book, The House That Herman Built in conjunction with Akademie Schloss Solitude. The new addition will include an appendix more congruent with Herman’s vision of ending the use of long term solitary confinement. It is a LOT of work, but we are truly inspired and motivated by the great legacy and life of Herman Wallace and promise to do everything we can to honor that legacy and life. Please check the site frequently for updates and subscribe to our mailing list.
The House is designed to interrupt the prison pipeline, providing adequate space for “Art, Activism, Education and Ideas”. Through out the design of his home Herman included spaces for activists to stay, educational libraries, a giant kitchen (we build community with food!) and a conference room. Many of the bedrooms can be multi-use with programming centered around food sustainability, vocational training, and self determined education. Or, as in the words of Herman Wallace, “to give these kids another option besides the street.”
To build the dream home of a man who has been confined to a six-foot-by-nine foot cell for over 41 years is to build the ultimate symbol of resistance, of survival and of hope. It illustrates the triumph of the imagination and transforms the horrifying situation of a prisoner into a portrait of a human being. Building this house would bring into fruition a dream from within a nightmare. This project encourages people to take chances and realize that we can change things. We can assuage difficulties.
We can fight for what we believe in, for righteousness, for kindness and we can triumph. It encourages us to step outside of our immediate beings and become part of something much bigger- a bigger society, a bigger dream, a bigger life, a bigger existence.