Emily Williams

Location: 70808
Biography: Coming soon...
Public Story
We had to know who we were; We had to know who we weren't
Copyright Emily Williams 2024
Updated Dec 2021
Location Mississippi
Topics Arts, Black and White, Documentary, Ethnic minorities, Faith, Family, Fine Art, Historical, Judaism, Migration, Mixed Medium, Photography, Race, Racism, Religion, Religious minorities, World
We had to know who we were, we had to know who we weren’t: Jewish Race and Place in the American South.

For as long as there have been “Southerners,” there have been southern Jews. An understudied, and to some, an entirely unknown community, Jews have occupied an unsteady, undefined place in the South’s racial binary. They have frequently attained a degree of provisional whiteness and benefited from the privileges that come with it, only to be periodically reminded that their whiteness is impermanent and contextual. My work seeks to explore both the historical and contemporary Jewish experience of race in the south through photography and oral history. The goals are twofold: to preserve the memory of Jewish communities where they no longer exist, and to understand the Jewish experience today.

With gratitude to Carly Berlin, Macy and Susan Hart, Julie Hoffman, and Menashe Roberts. Thank you for welcoming me into your homes, sharing your time, for your candor in these interviews, and for your guidance in this work. 

Please note that the current exhibition is only a small selection of the work I have done thus far, and the beginning of this project which  I will be pursuing for the foreseeable future.

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We had to know who we were; We had to know who we weren't by Emily Williams
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