Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial
In 2006, while exploring downtown Montgomery, Alabama, Jessica Ingram found herself standing on the former Court Square slave market. The historical marker presented facts, including the dollar values paid for slaves, but said nothing about the meaning of the place. “I’m from the South and was raised with an awareness of the devastating history of slavery,” says Ingram, “but this site sparked something in me that caught fire.” Curious about other sites, and what hidden histories she might be passing as she drove across the South, Ingram began researching and photographing places where civil rights–era atrocities, Klan activities, and slave trading occurred.
Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial presents thirty of Jessica Ingram’s photographs of locations of historic significance in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee—in Mississippi alone, Medgar Evers’ backyard in Jackson; the Tallahatchie River, where Emmett Till’s body was found; the site of the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County. The exhibition also presents audio oral histories from Ingram’s interviews with family members, local people, investigators, and journalists who witnessed, were impacted by, and remember these events.
Unlike Court Square in Montgomery, there are no markers at most of the places Ingram has documented. As the years pass and the landscape transforms itself in ways both beautiful and banal, all that remains of the events that occurred are the memories and voices of those who lived through them.