Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Black shackleCurated by Karida Brown, a Ph.D. candidate in ​the Department of S​ociology and Biff Hollingsworth, Collecting and Public Programming Archivist at UNC, with support from a team of graduate students, Virginia Thomas (Brown), Bernetaie Reed (UNC), and Ashlyn Velte (UNC).

The opening reception for this exhibition was on Friday, May 27th, 2016 from 4-5:30 PM at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Gallery, 94 Waterman Street.

The Black Shackle grew out of the Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project (EKAAMP), a unique partnership between the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Karida Brown; and Appalachian communities. Brown, a descendent of coal miners, has recorded more than 200 oral history interviews with individuals who live in or grew up in the region. The Southern Historical Collection archives these recordings, along with photographs, organizational records, and family papers that community members have offered to her.

To learn more about the exhibition and partnership, listen to the North Carolina Public Radio story: Gone Home, The Stories Of Black Coal Miners In Appalachia.

Black shackle
Black Shackle

This exhibition was on display at the CSSJ gallery at 94 Waterman Street from May 27, 2016 - January 2017. 

This exhibition was in conjunction with our 2016 Commencement Forum: Creating a Participatory Archive.

This exhibition is made possible through the support of the Cogut Center for the Humanities, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), and the Departments of American Studies, Sociology and History. 


Black shacklesImage provided with permission by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and the Appalachian Archives. These photos are part of the U.S. Coal & Coke and International Harvester Image Collection. For more information about this collection visit