Grown Together in the Midst of the Foundation

Lonnie Holley American

Not on view

This piece underscores the links between two historical forms of labor in Birmingham: slavery and steel manufacturing. Like most Southern African Americans, Holley traces his ancestry back to slavery, symbolized here by the cotton tree root. Birmingham was a city that grew from modern industry, when rural freemen came to work in dangerous iron blast furnaces and coal mines. The steel and wire emblematize the African American labor force that established the city as the industrial center of the Southeast. "Grown together" refers to how these forms of labor laid Birmingham’s "foundation" and made possible its economic success in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth.

Grown Together in the Midst of the Foundation, Lonnie Holley (American, born Birmingham, Alabama, 1950), Cottonwood, steel, metal wire, concrete and PVC pipe

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