The Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University Presents A Stirring Song Heroic from Aug. 21 to Oct. 7

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The exhibition features a photographic history of American slavery

The Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University presents A Stirring Song Heroic: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom, 1619 to 1865 by Philadelphia artist, William Earle Williams. The exhibition takes place from Aug. 21 to Oct. 7.  An artist lecture and reception will be held in the gallery starting at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 5.

A Stirring Song Heroic is an exhibition of contemporary photographs by Williams presented alongside related historic objects. Together, they depict the often invisible journey from slavery to freedom in the United States. The exhibition focuses on historic locations and events in the New World where Americans, black and white, determined the meaning of freedom.

The critically acclaimed exhibition:

  • Provides a view of many sites where significant historic events occurred, previously undocumented through Williams’s masterful photographs.
  • Creates extended conversations between relevant historical objects and contemporary photographs, fostering a dialogue for a new understanding of both the power of the photograph and American history.
  • Challenges visitors to immerse themselves in the works on display to locate their own truth within the exhibit and society.

Williams is Audrey A. and John L. Dusseau Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Fine Arts and Curator of Photography at Haverford College in Haverford, Pa. He has been affiliated with Haverford since 1978, after receiving his M.F.A. in photography that year from the Yale University School of Art.

His photographs have been widely exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art; George Eastman House; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Smith College; and the Smithsonian, Castle Building. His photographs are in many public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Baltimore Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Princeton University Art Museum; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and the National Gallery.

Williams is a 1997 Pew Fellow in the Arts, and has received individual artist fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 1986, 1997 and 2003. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for 2003–04. He served as a member of the national board of the Society for Photographic Education from 1997 to 2003 and as a past member of the executive committee.

For more information on the exhibition and visiting hours, visit

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