Human/Ties exhibit: ‘Landscapes of Slavery and Segregation’

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Recovered and reconstructed Virginia slave dwellings are featured on the Downtown Mall as part of an installation by Encyclopedia Virginia. Recovered and reconstructed Virginia slave dwellings are featured on the Downtown Mall as part of an installation by Encyclopedia Virginia.

Throughout the month of September, an audio-visual exhibition called “Landscapes of Slavery and Segregation” provides historical context to Charlottesville in three different locations: the Downtown Mall, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and UVA Grounds.

Curated by Encyclopedia Virginia, a branch of The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, each site is paired with multimedia components of text, images and audio (accessible at http://landscapes360.oncell.com/) that inform the viewer about the local history of slavery and segregation and encourage critical thinking about our treatment of the past and how it is presented currently.

Emma Lewis (pictured as a child) is a team lead at UVA Medical Center and former resident of Vinegar Hill neighborhood. Image: Gundars Osvalds
Emma Lewis (pictured as a child) is a team lead at UVA Medical Center and former resident of Vinegar Hill neighborhood. Image: Gundars Osvalds

On the Downtown Mall across from the free speech wall, large photographs showcase recovered and reconstructed Virginia slave dwellings, with audio information about how these structures are preserved. At the Jefferson School, an exhibit of vintage photographs from 1963 taken in the historic African-American neighborhood of Vinegar Hill provides insight into residents’ lives there before the area was razed and redeveloped following a city vote in which a poll tax prevented many of the residents from voting. And on UVA Grounds, a walking tour includes audio information about the role of slaves who lived and worked at the university, based on ongoing historical research by UVA’s President’s Commission on Slavery and the university.

The exhibition is part of Human/Ties, the 50th anniversary celebration of the National Endowment for the Humanities that will take place in Charlottesville from September 14-17 and includes other events that examine our local history.

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