MONTGOMERY - The practice of convict leasing, which led to a new era of slavery for many African Americans following the end of reconstruction in the South, will be the focus of an art exhibit coming to Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum in August.
"Slavery By Another Name: Paintings and Assemblages by Robert Claiborne Morris" will be on display at the Rosa Parks Museum from Aug. 8 through Oct. 25.
The exhibit is inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name by Douglas A. Blackmon. Blackmon's book explores convict leasing in the South following the Reconstruction period, in which African American convicts were leased as labor to private individuals and corporations—a practice that continued in some southern states until World War II.
"Artist Robert Claiborne Morris saw an early draft of Blackmon's groundbreaking work and was powerfully moved to create a visual understanding of this terrible period in American life," said Daniel Neil, curator of the Rosa Parks Museum. "Many southern states profited greatly from the criminalization of Blackness and subsequent leasing of both legitimately and falsely incarcerated African Americans from Reconstruction until World War II."
Morris has scoured the South looking for articles and artifacts from the period, which he has woven into the works he created for the exhibition.
Morris is an artist, journalist and poet whose art has been exhibited in major American museums, galleries and libraries, including the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Ga., and the Mason Murer Gallery in Atlanta. He studied art at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. and Tulane University in New Orleans, La., and his writings have appeared in publications across the country.
Morris will discuss his work during a gallery talk at the Rosa Parks Museum on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 11 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
The exhibit hall at the Rosa Parks Museum is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information on this exhibit or other upcoming events, contact curator Daniel Neil at (334) 241-8701.