Shadow to Substance - image header

Shadow to Substance: Black Histories Past, Present, Future

July 27, 2021–February 27, 2022

The exhibition, Shadow to Substance (title taken from Sojourner Truth), is curated by Kimberly Williams, University of Florida Graduate Candidate in English; Dr. Porchia Moore, University of Florida Assistant Professor, Museum Studies and Dr. Carol McCusker, Harn Curator of Photography. Shadow to Substance creates a chronological arc from the past to the present into the future using historical photographs from the Harn and Smathers Library collections and through the lens of Black photographers working today. It examines Jim Crow Florida, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. But it does so through images that expand ideas around healing, myth, intimacy, joy, resistance and rebirth. The exhibition, and its attending programs, will create a space for visitors to see and identify with uplifting narratives shaped by an invigorated portrait of Black life.

This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Dr. R. James Toussaint and Mrs. Sara Toussaint.


Spotify Playlist

Developed by Kimberly Williams, Exhibition Co-Curator


Aftercare Resource List

Click on the image below for the PDF with hyperlinks.



Poetry by E. Stanley Richardson, Museum Nights, August 2021

Please enjoy more of E. Stanley Richardson's poetry inspired by this exhibition at the Harn's YouTube page.

Light Blue by Stanley E. Richardson


Gallery Talk: Shadow to Substance
Sunday, September 19, 3 pm
 - Limited seating 

Join curators Dr. Porchia Moore (UF Assistant Professor of Museum Studies), Kimberly Williams (UF Graduate Student in English) and Dr. Carol McCusker (Harn Curator of Photography) for an overview of the exhibition and a discussion of its inspiring themes.

Image credits

Left: Sheila Pree Bright, The Rebirth of Us, 2020, archival inkjet print, Courtesy of the artist, Sheila Pree Bright

Right: Ayana V. Jackson, Moments of Sweet Reprieve, 2016, from the series Intimate Justice in the Stolen Moment, archival pigment print, Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim

Preview Video

Art images in order of appearance: Ayana V. Jackson, Sighting in the Abyss II, from the series Take Me to the Water, 2019; Endia Beal, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, 2020; Sheila Pree Bright, The Rebirth of Us, 2020; Charlotte Watts, Resting for the Ancestors III, in collaboration with Tricia Hersey’s Nap Ministry, 2018