People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.

I began to see racism and its rituals of segregation as a symptom of a grave illness. When people think more of their skin color than of their souls, something has happened to them.
Lillian Smith

Placeless events are inconceivable, in that everything that happens must happen somewhere.
Robert Macfarlane


The Spaces We Inherit explores the historical legacy and contemporary significance of lynchings and racial murder on the American people and the American landscape through photographs, interviews, sound recordings, and a short film.

Based on over twelve months of research and documentation across eleven states, The Spaces We Inherit features a selection of photographs that show the exact or approximate location where individuals were lynched or murdered, reflecting not just the universality and mundanity of physical space but the simultaneous nature of presence and absence - what is both seen and not seen. The photographs also serve a dual function: the direct, systemic recording of historical places and the memorialization of the individuals who suffered there.

This series also features portraits and stories with individuals who have direct connections to the physical locations and historical events, while others explore race relations in a broader context. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity and were conducted between 2016-2017. 

Jelani Cobb writes in the introduction to The Spaces We Inherit

'This is a collection of spaces haunted not simply by the actions taken on that parcel of earth but by the ways in which those acts are abetted in the present by the failure to acknowledge them. We are surrounded by ghosts here. Phantasms of the past. Disregarded cruelties that point us to an obvious fact: a ghost is simply a vector of neglected history.'