In Ghosts of Segregation, photographer Richard Frishman explores the lingering presence of segregation, slavery and institutional racism hidden in everyday American architecture. From the New Orleans Slave Exchange and “colored entrances” at movie theatres to the abandoned Negro Nursing School in Houston, Frishman’s photographs show how our surroundings bear witness to history, reminding us where we have been, where we are now, and crucially asking, “Where do we go from here?”
The built environment is society’s autobiography writ large. Seeking to spark an honest conversation about the legacy of racial injustice in America, Ghosts of Segregation explores vestiges of racism in places that have been repurposed or partially covered up: the curious side window at Pascagoula’s Edd’s Drive-In, the enigmatic barred door at Seattle’s Moore Theatre, or the quaint cabins dotting Idlewild, Michigan. The shock of Frishman’s pictures is how insidious evidence of segregation and historic racism can be. Jim Crow not only extended across America, it became part of everyday life in communities across the country.
Implicit in this uniquely powerful project is the belief that together we have the capacity to rise above the deep-rooted ramifications of slavery, “America’s original sin.” Frishman’s photographs speak to the complex and difficult road toward social justice and equality in America, and cast light on generations of painful inequality and social turmoil. The project arrives at a moment when our culture struggles to re-evaluate the dynamics of race and re-calibrate the prospects for improved race relations in America.
While the images in this exhibition are anchored to American history, viewers can find information on how to elevate awareness and spark honest conversations about racism. For full details on related programming during this exhibition – including talks, films, and more – please visit lawrenceartscenter.org.
The fight against racism in all of its forms requires engagement. Learn how you can become involved, and please support organizations that further education and justice.
• Equal Justice Initiative
• American Civil Liberties Union
• Immigrant Legal Resource Center
• National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People
• National Women’s Law Center
• Southern Poverty Law Center
The Ghosts of Segregation traveling exhibition is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.
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