Guide to the Jeanine Michna-Bales Photographs, 2013-2015
Jeanine Michna-Bales is a conceptual documentary photographer based in Dallas, Texas. Her series "Through Darkness to Light: Seeking Freedom on the Underground Railroad" won the 2016 ADA Collection Award for Documentarians of the American South. The project comprises 40 color photographs of a route taken by travelers on the Underground Railroad between 1800 and the end of the Civil War. Michna-Bales researched the route over a decade and photographed the locations between 2012 and 2015.
- Collection Number
- Jeanine Michna-Bales photographs
- Michna-Bales, Jeanine
- 7 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
The Jeanine Michna-Bales photographs comprise her series "Through Darkness to Light: Seeking Freedom on the Underground Railroad," which won the 2016 ADA Collection Award for Documentarians of the American South. The series contains (39) 17"x24.5" color photographs printed on 21"x28.5" paper and (1) 17"x70.75" panoramic photograph printed on 21"x74.75" paper. Images are digital chromogenic prints printed on Kodak Endura Lustre paper printed in 2016 by Steve Clayton at Holland Photo Imaging in Austin, Texas.
Michna-Bales provided the following abstract of her work:
They left during the middle of the night – oftentimes carrying little more than the knowledge that moss grows on the northern side of trees. An estimated 100,000 slaves between 1800 and the end of the Civil War chose to embark on this journey of untold hardships in search of freedom. Fugitives traveled roughly 20 miles each night traversing rugged terrain while enduring all the hardships that Mother Nature could bring to bear. Occasionally, they were guided from one secret, safe location to the next by an ever-changing, clandestine group known as the Underground Railroad. From a cotton plantation in Louisiana all the way north to Canada, this series of photographs can help 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.
The documented route took over a decade to piece together. Images were captured digitally over a three-year period starting in the Fall of 2012. The images have been displayed with found text from the time period, such as quotes from various participants, to help give the viewer a better understanding of circumstances surrounding a person’s journey to freedom.
Arranged by creator.
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How to Cite
[Identification of item], Jeanine Michna-Bales Photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Along the southern part of the Old Natchez Trace, Mississippi
First view of a free state, crossing the Ohio River to Indiana
Joshua Eliason Jr. barnyards and farmhouse, with a tunnel leading underneath the road to another station, Centerville, Indiana
House of Levi Coffin, who was unofficially dubbed the president of the Underground Railroad. Fountain City (formerly Newport), Indiana
James and Rachel Sillivan’s cabin, Pennville (formerly Camden), Indiana
Between the Maumee and St. Joseph Rivers. Braun-Leslie House, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Waiting for the all-clear to head to the Captain John Lowry Station; Lodi Plains Cemetery, Nutting’s Corner, Michigan
Leaving Reverend Oren Cook Thompson Station, St. Clair County, Michigan
Crossing the St. Clair River to Canada just south of Port Huron, Michigan
Jeanine Michna-Bales is a documentary photographer based in Dallas, Texas. Her work has been shown throughout the United States as well as in online publications and blogs.
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The Jeanine Michna-Bales Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2016.
Processed by Katrina Martin, September, 2016.
Accessions described in this collection guide: 2016-0243