The Road to Hope: A Photographic Glimpse of African American Life 1850-1960









Who:    DiverseArts' New East Arts Gallery
What:   Archival Documentary Photography Exhibit
When:  Opening reception, Inauguration Day, 7pm-10pm, January 20, 2009 (Jan 20-February 28, 2009)
Where: New East @ Saltillo 1601 E. 5th St., Suite 106
             Austin, TX 78702















DiverseArts is glad to commemorate the Inauguration of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America, with the opening of The Road to Hope: A Photographic Glimpse of African American Life 1850-1960. The exhibit features a range of beautiful, moving—and sometimes tragic—“found” images that illustrate the depth and range of the Black experience in America through Civil War-era daguerreotypes, to dusty images of proud Buffalo Soldiers. Others still show us the pain and degradation of life in the Jim Crow South, hard times in the Great Depression’s dust bowl, and the fight for equal educational justice and desegregation at Little Rock’s Central High School.

The exhibit draws from the work of now famous documentary photographers, historic archival collections, and little-known photographers whose work successfully captures singular moments and holds them permanently for future generations to appreciate and study.The exhibit includes a number of rarely seen images from some of the 20th Century’s most celebrated documentary photographers and photojournalists. The Road to Hope features the work of Russell Lee, Marion Post Wolcot, Lewis Hine, Doris Ulmann, John Vacon, Jack Delano,Walker Evans and others. As well, the archival holdings of the Farm Security Administration, the Works Progress Administration, W.E.B. Dubois Archive, and other sources have been tapped to offer up a true and compelling look back at just how far we’ve come.

Though all of the images are poignant and visually engaging, the exhibit is not just a showcase of reminders of our troubled past. The message of the exhibit, as a whole, is really one of celebrating this moment in history; but doing so with eyes wide open as to where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, and how much farther we have to go until America equally embraces and values all of its citizens. Co-curators Neil Coleman and Tim Taylor have done a masterful job selecting significant images which capture poverty and pain, and which also provide uplifting and beautiful scenes of happy families, adorable children, and snapshots of a rich and passionate culture and people.

DiverseArts, Pro-Jex Gallery, and Austin Image Research are delighted to collaborate and offer this seldom seen, rare collection of images as our way of punctuating this very special historical moment. With this exhibit we critically and mindfully celebrate The Road to Hope—and the dawn of fresh beginnings on that road as America moves into the 21st Century. 

Please join us at New East for the exhibit’s opening reception, 7pm on Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20, 2009 for a great exhibit, drinks, conversation, and music. Selected framed prints will be available for sale.

Curated by Neil Coleman of Pro-Jex Gallery and Tim Taylor of Austin Image Research