“…Slow broke the gray cold morning; again the sunshine
Flecked with the shade of bar and grate within
my lonely cell;…”
John Greenleaf Whittier
The Southwick family resided in Salem, Massachusetts in the mid fifteenth century. Already striped of their property and land for refusing to give up their Quaker faith, the family was torn apart in 1658. The parents, Lawrence and Cassandra were banished until their death while their teenage daughter, Provided, was abandoned in a Salem jail. Still refusing to deny her beliefs and unable to pay her fines for incarceration, the government of Plymouth colony attempted to sell her into slavery. Saved by the sailor’s refusal to transport her south, she then served as an inspiration for the abolitionist movement nearly two hundred years later.
Inspired by the John Greenleaf Whittier’s abolitionist ballad about Provided’s incarceration in Salem, I photographed the shoreline in Salem. Through my lens, I found connections to the words in the poem and her story. Provided is an examination of persecution, xenophobia, and redemption through landscape and place.
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