Meg Onli
Ink Jet Print
In preparation for the series The Underground Railroad Project I began a collection of drawings that were intended to be character studies. The Underground Railroad Project was a 510-mile walk from the birthplace of Josiah Henson (who was the basis for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin) to the historical site of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which is located in the Dawn settlement in Canada. The drawings themselves began as preparation for the walk in 2007 but were not completed until 2009. Beginning with a nod to the iconic fugitive slave poster, the character encounters both imagined fantasies and recreates historical occurrences. The drawings reflected my own research and anxieties while preparing for the walk.

Midnight portrays my doppelganger in the style of a classic runaway slave poster. The character is carrying all of her belongings in a rucksack and appears weary and tired. The title references a slave codename for Detroit. Both Midnight and Dawn also reference a book I was reading at the time by Jacqueline L. Tobin entitled, From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad. The book was the jumping off point for most of the research I conducted for the project.
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