“America has not sufficiently dealt with the dark stain of oppression and slavery that marks our history,” Laub says, “and it is one of the reasons that segregated proms and racially charged killings have continued in the 21st century.” While truth and reconciliation commissions have been established throughout the world to grapple with painful histories and to address ethnic and racial atrocities, Laub points out that it was only this year that a substantial memorial was opened to reckon with the lynching of thousands of black Americans, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.
Nonetheless, she found among the students of Montgomery County “an American spirit of challenging inequality”, she says. “They made sacrifices in speaking out and acting courageously. There was a desire to agitate for a better life, for personal freedom. This inextinguishable light is what gave me hope.”
Written by Maya Benton, Consulting Curator at the International Center of Photography.