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Critical Places: Sites of American Slave Rebellion Photography Exhibit

122 Melrose Avenue
Natchez MS, 39120

(601) 446-5790

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Date:  January 26, 2024 to April 1, 2024

Time:  8:30 am - 5:00 pm

In celebration of Black History Month, the compelling photographic exhibit, Critical Places: Sites of American Slave Rebellion, opens Friday, January 26, 2024, at Melrose, one unit of Natchez National Historical Park. Featuring the work of acclaimed photographer, Mikael Levin, the exhibit focuses on how revolts of the enslaved in the United States are remembered, or not remembered, in the landscape.  

In photographing these places, Levin is marking them as critical places in a topography of historical consciousness, bringing forward how he sees these rebellions still echoing in social patterns and economic structures.  Kathleen Bond, Superintendent of Natchez National Historical Park, described the exhibit as “a thoughtful and evocative use of photography to remind us how so much significant history lies just beneath the surface of the everyday world around us. The exhibit helps call attention to previously untold or little-understood stories.” 

For his Natchez show Levin is presenting his  photographs from the Cherry Grove Plantation and its surroundings, the area associated with the violent repression of the Second Creek conspiracy of the enslaved in the fall of 1861. Levin started this project in 2019 and has to date photographed 14 sites. Here he is also presenting his photographs from Astoria Queens (The Newtown Revolt of 1708) and Lewis County, Missouri (The Lin Uprising of 1849) to show the varied nature and widespread geographic range of the rebellions.   

Co-sponsored by Natchez National Historical Park and the Alluvial Collective, with funding from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the exhibit will be displayed in the recently refurbished Melrose south slave cabin from January 26 thru April 1, 2024. The Melrose estate is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The facility is wheelchair accessible, and there is no charge to visit the exhibit.

Visitors will be able to meet Levin in the gallery on the afternoon of the opening from 2:00 until 5:00 p.m.  The previous evening, on Thursday, January 25, Levin will present an illustrated talk about his life, career, and this exhibit at 6:30 p.m., at the Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 South Commerce Street.  

On Saturday, January 27, the Alluvial Collective will host the first of two dialogue circles at the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African American Culture (NAPAC) from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. A second dialogue circle will follow on April 2. These facilitated discussions of the exhibit and its themes can accommodate approximately 25 persons at each sitting. The Alluvial Collective’s engaging, participatory approach uses deep listening, storytelling, and community building, creating a space for a wide range of perspectives, without personal shaming or blaming. 

About the artist: Mikael Levin has exhibited widely in the US and in Europe, including solo exhibitions at the Jewish Museum, Paris, 2010, the Berardo Museum, Lisbon, 2009, the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, 2003, the International Center of Photography, New York, 1997, and Fundacion Mendoza, Caracas, 1980. His work was included in the Venice Biennale in 2003. Levin’s work is found in major collections such as those of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Jüdisches Museum, Berlin, the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. 

For more information, contact park historian Jeff Mansell (jeff_mansell@nps.gov) or call the Melrose visitor center (601-446-5790).