Over the last several years, a small group of us have covered literary art by African Americans that focuses on slavery. We’ve read works by or about Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Tubman, and Phillis Wheatley. We’ve also concentrated on modern poets and novelists who have written about slavery such as Octavia Butler, Robert Hayden, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Ishmael Reed, to name a few. As a result, we’ve learned more about the historical record, and just as important, we began building knowledge about literary interpretations and artistic imaginings of the slavery.
“The Underground Freedom Galleries” highlights how a range of students and teachers here at SIUE have responded to novels, short stories, poems, and images concerning slavery. This exhibit offers a glimpse at our approaches accounting for the cultural and artistic value of reading literary works—past and modern—focusing on African American enslavement and struggles for freedom. The series of display panels, artifacts, and blog posts that comprise the exhibit represents our attempt to establish an active network for appreciating African American ideas and artistic creations.
Design Matters and the Freedom Galleries
Phillis Wheatley and the Freedom Galleries
Harriet Tubman and the Freedom Galleries