Samuel J. Miller, Frederick Douglass, 1847–52
© The Art Institute of Chicago

Aperture is pleased to present “Vision & Justice: A Civic Curriculum,” a free publication released on the occasion of Vision & Justice: A Creative Convening on Art, Race, and Justice, a landmark two-day conference taking place at Radcliffe on April 25–26, organized by Professor Sarah Lewis. In 2016, Lewis guest edited Aperture’s summer issue, “Vision & Justice,” a monumental edition of the magazine that sparked a national conversation on the role of photography in constructions of citizenship, race, and justice.

The 80-page “Civic Curriculum,” edited by Lewis, will be made available at the conference, and includes thirty-one texts on topics ranging from civic space and memorials to the intersections of race, technology, and justice. Highlights include a wide-ranging conversation between filmmaker Ava DuVernay and cinematographer Bradford Young; an interview between Lewis and Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative; and Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s essay on Frederick Douglass. Amanda Gorman, first Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, wrote for the publication; “Vision & Justice: A Civic Curriculum” also includes contributions by Elizabeth Alexander, Alexandra Bell, Robin Bernstein, LaToya Ruby Frazier, For Freedoms, Doreen St. Félix, Naomi Wadler, Darren Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis.

“Vision & Justice: A Civic Curriculum” takes its conceptual inspiration from Frederick Douglass’s landmark Civil War speech “Pictures and Progress,” about the transformative power of pictures to create a new vision for the nation, and addresses both the historic roots and contemporary realities of visual literacy for race and justice in American civic life.

“American citizenship has long been a project of vision and justice,” said Lewis, who is Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard. “When I was asked to guest edit a special issue of Aperture magazine, inspired by my course, which has led to this convening, I could think of no other theme. Understanding the relationship of race and the quest for full citizenship in this country requires an advanced state of visual literacy, particularly during periods of turmoil.”

“Sarah Lewis’s work literally has transformed the way we see American history, especially with regard to citizenship,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Click here to download “Vision & Justice: A Civic Curriculum.”