Road Through Midnight

A Civil Rights Memorial

By Jessica Ingram

240 pp., 8.5 x 11, 43 color plates, 32 halftones

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5423-2
    Published: February 2020
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-5424-9
    Published: December 2019
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5542-8
    Published: December 2019

Documentary Arts and Culture

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Awards & distinctions

Shortlisted, 2020 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation First PhotoBook Award

Longlisted, 2021 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards

One of The New York Times Best Art Books of 2020

At first glance, Jessica Ingram’s landscape photographs could have been made nearly anywhere in the American South: a fenced-in backyard, a dirt road lined by overgrowth, a field grooved with muddy tire prints. These seemingly ordinary places, however, were the sites of pivotal events during the civil rights era, though often there is not a plaque with dates and names to mark their importance. Many of these places are where the bodies of activists, mill workers, store owners, sharecroppers, children and teenagers were murdered or found, victims of racist violence. Images of these places are interspersed with oral histories from victims’ families and investigative journalists, as well as pages from newspapers and FBI files and other ephemera.

With Road Through Midnight, the result of nearly a decade of research and fieldwork, Ingram unlocks powerful and complex histories to reframe these commonplace landscapes as sites of both remembrance and resistance and transforms the way we regard both what has happened and what’s happening now—as the fight for civil rights goes on and memorialization has become the literal subject of contested cultural and societal ground.

About the Author

Jessica Ingram is assistant professor of art at Florida State University.

For more information about Jessica Ingram, visit the Author Page.


“A haunting monograph that presents narratives of struggle, injustice, and unspeakable brutality in almost austere fashion. . . . In showing us how everyday landscapes are forever scarred by violent histories, Ingram is telling us that the wounds of slavery, segregation, and white supremacist ideology survive in ways we refuse to see, in our cities, prisons, schools, and neighborhoods.”—Chapter 16

Road Through Midnight is not an easy read, nor is it meant to be, but it is a powerful means for learning part of our shared history. Jessica Ingram spent more than a decade creating what she describes as “an interpretive and suggestive work rather than a scholarly one,” but one that—through her photographs, detailed research, and many personal interviews—will help readers connect the past to the present and with what still remains to be done.”—Georgia Library Quarterly

"[A] marvelous, evocative meditation on the power of remembering. . . . Every reader who opens this book will take something different from it."—North Carolina Historical Review

“One of the most powerful books of documentary content I know of. . . . It might be the book’s greatest strength that it reminds us that terrible things can happen in ordinary places, in seemingly ordinary times, and that they could yet again.”—Study the South

“Inviting and engaging. Ingram’s book is both reflexive and reflective, guiding us through a difficult history and creatively telling these hidden histories with a sensitivity to a highly trafficked past. Her pioneering approach as a photographer and archivist gives us a new way of looking at the South and the civil rights movement from someone who grew up in the South.”—Deborah Willis, author of Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present

“An unparalleled approach to the topic of civil rights history in photography—studies such as this are so needed today. Ingram’s poignant photographs make these quiet, forgotten southern landscapes come alive. An original thinker and dedicated artist, Jessica Ingram fosters a rhythm and flow that captives the reader and draws them in to the very end.”—Cheryl Finley, author of My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South and Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon