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All human landscape has cultural meaning. Because we rarely consider our constructions as evidence of our priorities, beliefs and desires, the testimony our landscape tells is perhaps more honest than anything we might intentionally present. Our built environment is society’s autobiography writ large.

Ghosts of Segregation photographically explores the vestiges of America’s racism as seen in the vernacular landscape: schools for “colored” children, theatre entrances and restrooms for “colored people,” lynching sites, juke joints, jails, hotels and bus stations. What is past is prologue.

We often take our daily environments for granted, but within even the most mundane edifice may lurk an important bit of history. If we are curious and diligent, we can read our surroundings like a book. That stairway apparently to nowhere once went somewhere. The curious palimpsest of bricks covers something. What purpose did they serve?

While most of the images currently in this project are focused on the Deep South, prejudice has no geographic boundaries; the photographer says he has all of America to explore. These troubling specters are as alive today as they ever were; often cloaked in different manners, but as much current events as history. The ghosts of segregation haunt us.

This expansive collection will be the Lawrence Arts Center’s only exhibition this fall. As with all exhibitions here it will be free and open to the public. Check the Arts Center website for talks, films, and performances connected to Ghosts of Segregation.

The Ghosts of Segregation traveling exhibition is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, Calif.

IMAGE: detail from Medgar Evers House


September 10 @ 5:00 pm
December 12 @ 9:00 pm
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Lawrence Arts Center Gallery
940 New Hampshire St
Lawrence, KS 66044 United States
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