Installation view, A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration. Photo by Mitro Hood

A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration


A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, Volume 1 and 2

Edited by Jessica Bell Brown and Ryan Dennis: A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, Volume 1 and 2

Critical Reader, Volume 1
This thoughtful interweaving of text and imagery presents a variety of perspectives on the Great Migration (1915–70), the mass exodus and dispersion of millions of African Americans out of the South. Through archival photography, newspaper clippings, maps, journal articles, book excerpts, and ephemera such as family recipes, the book immerses readers in Black history, the Great Migration, and its legacy. The book includes texts by authors ranging from W. E. B. Du Bois and Jean Toomer to Toni Tipton-Martin and culminates in a candid roundtable discussion about familial migration stories among some of the most respected Black artists, writers, and scholars working today: Theaster Gates, Kiese Laymon, Carrie Mae Weems, and others. The material is presented in three unique, thematic sections that explore the Great Migration’s impact on the American city, Black Southern foodways, and cultural expression.

Taken as a whole, this important volume provides powerful testimony to the systemic challenges such as social segregation, racism, and discrimination that Black communities have faced from the post-Emancipation period to the present moment.

Summer 2022

Exhibition Catalog, Volume 2
Offering a new perspective on the Great Migration, this incisive second volume presents immersive photography of newly commissioned works of art by Akea Brionne, Mark Bradford,  Zoë Charlton, Larry W. Cook, Torkwase Dyson, Theaster Gates Jr., Allison Janae Hamilton, Leslie Hewitt, Steffani Jemison, Robert Pruitt, Jamea Richmond‑Edwards, and Carrie Mae Weems. The artists investigate their connections to the deep South through familial stories of perseverance, self‑determination, and self‑reliance and consider how this history informs their working practices. Essays by Kiese Laymon, Jessica Lynne, Sharifa Rhodes‑Pitts, and Willie Jamaal Wright explore how the Great Migration continues to reverberate today in the public and private spheres and examine migration as both a historical and a political consequence, as well as a possibility for reclaiming agency.

Published by the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Mississippi Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press.

October 2022