Manifest, 2009-2019

Please Note:

Due to their size and vulnerability, "Red Summer" prints are temporarily unavailable pending custom rehousing by Conservation staff.

Physical access and technical requirements:

The photographs were made with a 4x5" film-based camera. They were printed in 2015 and 2019, and are pigment-based inkjet on paper.

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3.0 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Scope and content:

The 45 photographic prints in this series are from Wendel White's project titled "Manifest," initiated in 2009 and continuing into 2019. White included the following abstract about his work:

"The Manifest portfolio images are photo-based representations of objects, documents, photographs, and books made in various public and private collections throughout the U.S. These repositories encompass elements of material culture such as diaries, slave collars, human hair, a drum, souvenirs, and other objects, some with great significance and others simply quotidian representations of daily life, from the history of the African American community.

This project (Manifest) is an effort to seek out the cultural artifacts of the American concept and representation of race. The histories of slavery, abolition, segregation, the U.S. Civil War, and the Civil Rights Era are a few of the narratives that emerge in these photographs.

I am increasingly interested in the residual power of the past to inhabit these material remains. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries, and millennia, suggests a remarkable mechanism for folding time, bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploration. While the artifacts are remarkable as visual evidence of lives and events, I also intend the viewer to consider this informal reliquary as a survey of the impulse and motivation to preserve history and memory.

Several projects that have occupied my attention during the past two decades are, in retrospect, part of a broader effort to seek out the ghosts that continue to haunt the remnants of the past. I am drawn to the stories that dwell within these objects."

"Manifest" received the 2015 Archive of Documentary Arts Award for Documentarians of Color. A recent book based on this work was published by Chroma (California Institute of Integral Studies) as Manifest and is available through the Chroma website.

Physical facet:
45 photographic prints
24 x 30 inches; 22 x 27 1/2 inches


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Collection restrictions:

Collection is open for research.

Please exercise caution when using this collection as the digital color prints are easily abraded or scratched. Please refrain from touching the surface and do not flex the prints.

Due to their size and vulnerability, "Red Summer" prints are temporarily unavailable pending custom rehousing by Conservation staff.

Use & permissions:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Images are for educational, non-commercial use only.

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