THROUGH DARKNESS TO LIGHT

PHOTOGRAPHS ALONG THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

We regret that the Temecula Valley Museum remains closed due to COVID-19, but we hope that you can still feel the impact and emotion evoked by these haunting images from the viewpoint of human beings seeking freedom from slavery as they traveled along the Underground Railroad.

Click here to watch a lecture on the Underground Railroad by Professor Hoodenpyle, Professor of History at Mt. San Jacinto College. https://www.dropbox.com/s/7j58hb5qmlohgdw/Underground%20Railroad%20Talk.mp4?dl=0

Click here for Dr. Hoodenpyle’s Lecture Outline

Many consider the Underground Railroad to be the first great freedom movement in the Americas and the first time when people of different races and faiths worked together in harmony for freedom and justice.

This exhibition features beautifully dramatic color photographs, ephemera, and narratives that together tell the story of the Underground Railroad. Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales has spent more than a decade meticulously researching “fugitive” slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom. While the unnumbered routes of the Underground Railroad encompassed countless square miles, the path Michna-Bales documented encompasses roughly 2,000 miles and is based off of actual sites, cities, and places that freedom-seekers passed through during their journey.

Whether they were slaves trying to escape or free blacks and whites trying to help, both sides risked everything for the cause of freedom. From the cotton plantations south of Natchitoches, Louisiana, all the way north to the Canadian border, this series of photographs by Michna-Bales helps us imagine what the long road to freedom may have looked like as seen through the eyes of one of those who made this epic journey.

While many books have been written on the subject, there is very little visual documentation of the Underground Railroad because of its secretive nature. Today, as America becomes more and more diverse, Michna-Bales believes that an understanding of the experience—and those who lived through it—is more relevant than ever.

The Underground Railroad united people from different races, genders, social levels, religions, and regions in a common and worthwhile cause. It was the first civil rights movement within America. Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad encourages visitors to learn more, ask questions, and open a dialogue on the subject, and in the end, provide a better understanding of our origins.

This exhibition was organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

While it is unfortunate that the Temecula Valley Museum must be closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, we present as much of Through Darkness To Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad as we can here. Please enjoy and share.

About ExhibitsUSA

This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email MoreArt@maaa.org or visit www.eusa.org.

About Mid-America Arts Alliance

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at www.maaa.org.  

Copyright 2020 by Temecula Valley Museum Inc.