The Journey

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This block was created around the theme of the journey. We all go through different journeys in our lives, some longer and more challenging than others, but every journey is important and demands courage and strength. This block honors those who were challenged by a specific journey unique to American history and relevant, even more specifically, to the state of Iowa; the story of the Underground Railroad. This block is comprised of a map of the Underground Railroad in the South, framed by a smattering of screws, pill capsules, buttons, stars, and other found objects. It also includes a photograph of the Lewelling House, a popular anti-slavery meeting house and renown safe stop on the Underground Railroad in an area of the Midwest particularly unfriendly to slaves and freed blacks during the years before the Civil War. Although the area of the South portrayed in the map is, of course, miles from the Lewelling House, the experience of black people in America is part of our entire country’s history, not just the areas most ravaged by institutional slavery and injustice. Although we often associate slavery with the American South, we must not forget that slavery was a national issue which demanded the attention of every city, small town, and individual, much like issues of racism still demand every person’s attention, no matter their race, today. The strewn nails and capsules surrounding the images in this block allude to journeys of different kinds, both physical and emotional. As our eyes follow the paths drawn by these loose objects we may be reminded of journeys we have taken in our own lives.