A Homeland of His Imagination: Romare Bearden’s Southern Odyssey in Time and Space


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines four generations of the African American artist Romare Bearden's family. Although grounded in historical research, it also interrogates the African American imaginary by using Bearden's artworks as an alternative archive. He called his work "the homeland of my imagination," and this project’s analysis is neither purely biographical nor purely art historical. Thinking about Bearden's art as an archive offers a unique perspective on the history, memory, and collective imagination of black southerners who migrated to the North. They took with them a geography of the mind.