Ghosts of Segregation

Photographs by Rich Frishman

alt="Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama"
Temporary Exhibitions Gallery
Oct 16, 2023 – May 24, 2024

In Ghosts of Segregation, photographer Rich Frishman explores the lingering presence of segregation, slavery and institutional racism hidden in everyday American architecture. From segregated schools to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama to a recent church firebombing in Louisiana, Frishman’s photographs show how our surroundings bear witness to history, reminding us where we have been, where we are now, and crucially asking, “where do we go from here?”

The built environment is society’s autobiography writ large. Seeking to spark an honest conversation about the legacy of racial injustice in America, Ghosts of Segregation explores vestiges of racism in places that have been repurposed or partially covered up: the curious side window at Pascagoula’s Edd’s Drive-In, the enigmatic barred door at Seattle’s Moore Theatre, or the quaint cabins dotting Idlewild, Michigan. The shock of Frishman’s pictures is how insidious evidence of segregation and historic racism can be. Jim Crow not only extended across America, it became part of everyday life in communities across the country.

Implicit in this uniquely powerful project is the belief that together we have the capacity to rise above the deep-rooted ramifications of slavery, “America’s original sin.” Frishman’s photographs speak to the complex and difficult road towards social justice and equality in America and cast light on generations of painful inequality and social turmoil. The project arrives at a moment when our culture struggles to reevaluate the dynamics of race and re-calibrate the prospects for improved race relations in America.

The Ghosts of Segregation traveling exhibition is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.  In Atlanta, the exhibition is sponsored by CDC’s Office of Communications and Atlanta Celebrates Photography.

More about Frishman’s on-going Ghosts of Segregation series can be found at his website.

Image credit: Edmond Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama, 2019


Register to attend a special talk with the Rich Frishman at 5:30PM on October 19, 2023. Slots are limited. Sign up today.



Join our curators for an in-depth look at this exhibition.


CDC Sign


In 2021, CDC declared racism a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans.

A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color. The impact is pervasive and deeply embedded in our society—affecting where one lives, learns, works, worships and plays and creating inequities in access to a range of social and economic benefits—such as housing, education, wealth, and employment.

These conditions—often referred to as social determinants of health—are key drivers of health inequities within communities of color, placing those within these populations at greater risk for poor health outcomes.

We hope that Ghosts of Segregation will be a catalyst for understanding and reconciliation about the impact of racism on American society, including public health.  The David J. Sencer CDC Museum is proud to contribute to these dialogues.