William Earle Williams: A Stirring Song Sung Heroic: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom, 1619 to 1865

Friday September 23, 2016 - Sunday December 11, 2016

Closed October 21-25 and November 22-27.

William Earle Williams: A Stirring Song Sung Heroic: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom, 1619 to 1865

William Earle Williams, Interior, Fort Morgan, Battle Site, Mobile Bay, Alabama, 2003, pigment print. © William Earle Williams.

For the last three decades, William Earle Williams has traced the overlooked histories of African Americans, locating unmarked sites and photographing them with clarity and quiet elegance. This exhibition included more than 60 photographs together with historic books, maps, newspapers, and manuscripts. Through both his research and his photographs, Williams tracks the history of African Americans from the first shipments of enslaved Africans to the many stops on the Underground Railroad, and from the battlefields of the Civil War to Emancipation. He summarizes his subject as "historical places in the New World from the Caribbean to North America where Americans black and white determined the meaning of freedom." This moving exhibition revealed the power of photography to bring what has been willfully forgotten or erased back to our collective consciousness.

William Earle Williams is the Audrey A. and John L. Dusseau Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Fine Arts, and Curator of Photography at Haverford College, Pennsylvania. He received his MFA in photography from Yale University School of Art and holds a BA in history from Hamilton College. His photographs have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Cleveland Museum of Art, and African American Museum in Philadelphia. Williams's photographs are in many public collections including those of the National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. A 1997 Pew Fellow in the Arts, Williams was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for 2003-2004.

Gallery hours

Related Events

Opening reception and gallery talk
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 5:00–7:00 pm
Davison Art Center
Gallery talk by William Earle Williams, 5:30 pm

Panel discussion: A Stirring Song Sung Heroic
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 11:50 am
The Russell House, 350 High Street
Speakers: Lois Brown, Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor, Chair, African American Studies, and Director, Center for African American Studies; Demetrius Eudell, Professor of History.

Virgil and Juwil Topazio Lecture
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 5:00 pm
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall (former CFA Hall)
Alan Trachtenberg, Neil Gray Jr. Professor Emeritus, English and American Studies, Yale University