Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial
At first glance, Jessica Ingram’s landscape photographs could have been made nearly anywhere in the American South: a fenced-in backyard, a dirt road lined by overgrowth, a field grooved with muddy tire prints. These seemingly ordinary places, however, were the sites of pivotal events during the civil rights era, though often there is not a plaque with dates and names to mark their importance. Many of these places are where the bodies of activists, mill workers, store owners, sharecroppers, children and teenagers were murdered or found, victims of racist violence. Images of these places are interspersed with oral histories from victims’ families and investigative journalists, as well as pages from newspapers and FBI files and other ephemera.
With Road Through Midnight, the result of nearly a decade of research and fieldwork, Ingram unlocks powerful and complex histories to reframe these commonplace landscapes as sites of both remembrance and resistance and transform the way we regard both what has happened and what’s happening now—as the fight for civil rights goes on and memorialization has become the literal subject of contested cultural and societal ground.
Available in bookstores or from the University of North Carolina Press
Listen to an interview with Jessica Ingram on WUNC radio’s The State of Things.
“Inviting and engaging. Ingram’s book is both reflexive and reflective, guiding us through a difficult history and creatively telling these hidden histories with a sensitivity to a highly trafficked past. Her pioneering approach as a photographer and archivist gives us a new way of looking at the South and the civil rights movement from someone who grew up in the South.”
—Deborah Willis, author of Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present
“An unparalleled approach to the topic of civil rights history in photography—studies such as this are so needed today. Ingram’s poignant photographs make these quiet, forgotten southern landscapes come alive. An original thinker and dedicated artist, Jessica Ingram fosters a rhythm and flow that captives the reader and draws them in to the very end.”
—Cheryl Finley, author of My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South and Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon
A selection of spreads from Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial: