Scholarly Publishing is proud to announce a new digital exhibit, Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery, Its People and Place. This is a companion site to the physical exhibit now on display at the Sheldon Art Galleries. Conceived by Jennifer Colten, senior lecturer in photography in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, the exhibit features Colten’s photographs of the long neglected cemetery. The exhibit also includes sculptural work by Dail Chambers and video documentaries by Denise Ward-Brown.
The project draws attention to Washington Park Cemetery, once the largest African-American cemetery in the St. Louis area. The cemetery fell into disrepair with expansion of Interstate 70 and development for Lambert Airport and MetroLink that overtook its land. As a result of this development, about 12,000 loved ones were disinterred and relocated to other area cemeteries. The story of Washington Park Cemetery echoes the systemic racism and racial divides that have plagued St. Louis for years. As Jennifer Colten said of her photographs, this exhibit is “in part protest, in part tribute, and in part historical documentation.”