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 will include 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 reveals 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.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website