During the U.S. Great Migration, between 1910 and 1970, thousands of Black families relocated from Southern towns and cities to Northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and New York to escape dead-end jobs and Jim Crow racism and to build better lives for themselves and future generations. Both sides of my family were a part of this move. They were sharecroppers and farmers who relocated from Fordyce, Arkansas and Clarksdale, Mississippi to Peoria,
Combining current-day portraits and archival photos and documents, allows me to piece together more about my personal family history and places it within a larger context about how these relocations and cultural shifts affected both my own family members’ lives and the lives of thousands of Black families in America.
Overall, my practice, which includes photography, text, and installation, explores the various ways one can navigate, shape, and take up physical and psychic space, and how this leads to the construction of the self. I am particularly interested in my family’s origin stories and exploring a small aspect of what it means to be Black in America, and how those histories affect us in the present day.
Flashpoint Gallery installation photos by Tony Hitchcock