Ghosts of Segregation photographically explores the vestiges of America’s racism as seen in the vernacular landscape—often hidden in plain sight behind a veil of banality. Segregation is as much current events as it is history. Past is prologue. Fueled by fear and intolerance, these demons haunt us because they are so very much alive. The project seeks to preserve the evidence of our nation’s original sin. When these telling traces are erased, the lessons they contain are lost.
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.
While the South depended upon the labor of human beings considered chattel, the North was built by the blood, sweat, and tears of those indentured by other means: economically, politically, ethnically, and racially. Slavery has left a permanent stain upon our nation’s soul. Until we commit to the difficult task of real atonement, to make right what is so perniciously wrong, we will be doomed to relive the suffering that inequality inflicts on all of us.