Library Inspired by Ongoing Debates About Immigration
The American Library is a celebration of the diversity of the American population. Printed in gold on the spines of many of the books in the installation are the names of people who immigrated, or whose antecedents immigrated to the United States. On other books are the names of African Americans who relocated or whose parents relocated out of the American South during The Great Migration. These people have all made a significant contribution to aspects of American life and culture and represent every field from science to activism, music to philosophy, and art to literature. Most of these people have also experienced varying degrees of discrimination and hardship during and after their or their family’s relocation. Another set of books within the library features the names of people who have spoken out against immigration, equality, or diversity in America. Visitors to the website can learn more about the reasons for the migration of large groups of people and access content looking at immigration and internal mass migration from pro, anti, and neutral viewpoints. A collection of videos explores the context surrounding migration and immigration and shows various opinions on these subjects and their consequences. Further information about the individuals named on the books is also available on the site. Individuals who were part of The Great Migration or another mass migration of people within the United States can share their own stories on the site as well. The American Library was commissioned by Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art with funds from VIA Art Fund and with the assistance of James Cohan Gallery, New York.
Few American artists loom larger than Langston Hughes. He wrote novels, plays, short stories, films, librettos, children’s verse, newspaper columns, translations, and memoirs, and edited several important anthologies. But most of all, he remained a poet. From “Dreams” to “Let America Be America Again,” he explored social conscience and class difference with lyric beauty and music.
Pithy and powerful, poetry is a popular art form at protests and rallies—from the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter. The poems of protest, resistance, and empowerment on the Poetry Foundation’s website call out and talk back to the inhumane forces that threaten from above.