What do I suggest you do if you’re in NYC today?
It closes tomorrow.
I found time to see it while in NYC this summer for an amazing professional development session at Teachers College (that’ll have to be another post I realize).
Between TC classes; meals with friends; missed subway stops as if I hadn’t lived in NYC for five years; and just fullness, I took a breath when I entered the exhibition hall…and teared up.
Clearly, I’m obsessed with (im)migration. My vision got blurry with tears looking at photos from a NYT article about the ongoing (im)migrant crisis in Europe.
Why people choose to stay, why people go, why people are in transit is something that I think about every day.
This exhibit addresses why the largest movement of Black bodies the US had ever seen began in the first place. We, my ancestors and I, chose to leave the South and our homes for numerous reasons.
And with this decision we changed the course of a nation. We spread the blues to Northern cities, made Harlem a literary hub, created a Detroit that would birth a Motown, and just did the damn thing in the face of crazy odds.
My ancestors faced brutal violence and oppression when deciding to leave the South. Isabel Wilkerson’s beautiful book The Warmth of Other Suns details just how much.
I faced a need to see more than Houston, Texas. My diaries and college papers tell me that much.
I explain away the pitiful photos I took at the exhibit with a I needed to be in the moment, not documenting the moment.
All the more reason for you to go if you can.
It’s worth it.
There’s a justification as to why Museum of Modern Art is my favorite museum in the world. They brought together this entire series under one roof for the first time in twenty years. Thanks, Tracy of The HeSo Project, for introducing me to it all those years ago with your museum pass.