The Great Migration was the movement of over 6 million AfricanAmericans out of the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West that occurred between 1910 and 1970. During that time period American culture shifted greatly as a result of this vast expansion of family and tradition.
The portrait (whether painted or photographed) has long been considered a symbol of status. At the turn of the century Kodak introduced the Brownie, a personal camera that made the portrait and other types of photography available for working class families. With this camera people were now able to capture their own experiences and craft their own images to tell the story of their lives. The photographs AfricanAmericans took chronicling their migration from the south will serve as inspiration for the project. Through found, donated, and family images Geary will retrace the steps, moments, and experiences of the Great Migration.
The blackbird, crow, and raven are closely interlinked and deeply interwoven in the myth and lore of the world. These birds have been seen and depicted as powerful forces in almost every major culture. An allegorical symbol often used as a placeholder for people, the bird embodies the idea of freedom. The migration across the country during the 20th century would come to shape the culture of the cities left behind and destined.