Schools for the Colored
Project info

In W.E.B. DuBois' "The Souls of Black Folk." he describes an early school experience, "... I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil"

Schools for the Colored is an extension of the ideas that formed the project Small Towns, Black Lives, in that; it is a continuation of my journey through the African American landscape. I began making photographs of historically African American school buildings during the very first weeks of the Small Towns, Black Lives project more than twenty years ago. In Schools for the Colored I began to pay attention to the many structures and sites (also making photographs of places where segregated schools once stood) that operated as segregated schools.

These photographs depict the buildings and landscapes that were associated with the system of racially segregated schools established at the southern boundaries of the northern United States. This area, sometimes referred to as “Up-South,” encompasses the northern “free” states that bordered the slave states. Schools for the Colored is the representation the duality of racial distinction within American culture. The “veil” (the digital imaging technique of obscuring the landscape surrounding the schools) is a representation of DuBois’ concept, informing the visual narrative in these photographs. Some of the images depict sites where the original structure is no longer present. As a placeholder, I have inserted silhouettes of the original building or what I imagine of the appearance of the original building. The architecture and geography of America’s educational Apartied, in the form of a system of “colored schools,” within the landscape of southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois is the central concern of this project.

This project is available for exhibition. The project includes fifty framed prints, crated and with exhibition labels.