Commissioned site specific intervention
with the history that houses the PS1- 229 gallery in Iowa City,
Axis V conceptually transfigures the infrastructure of
the gallery into a navigational axis line.
It traverses both intimate geography
and the subsequent identities
within an identity forged by
the historical movment of the early 20th century.

The Maid Narratives :
Black Domestics And White Families In The Jim Crow South (Siouthern Literary Studies)

Book by Charletta Sudduth, David W. Jackson III, and Katherine Worme

Published : 2012

“As early as 1917, the Chicago Defender, the nation’s most significant black newspaper, began a drive to lure southern blacks to leave behind Jim Crow and dire poverty for a life of promise in the North.
(Lemann 1992). “

“The influx of African Americans to northeast Iowa began as early as 1915, when the Illinois Central went to northern Mississippi and recruited hundreds of black men to replace striking workers “

“Of the 1,200 she interviewed, not one of them, she said, mentioned the boll weevil or the conditions for growing cotton. Instead, they talked about Jim Crow, and about lynching and the constant mistreatment from which there was no escape. They were escaping one form of violence. Elizabeth Clark-Lewis uniquely suggests that some of the migrant women were escaping from another form of violence as well—violence “

“within their own families. Her thesis is that as word spread of favorable job opportunities in the North, women who wished to escape from acts of violence committed by parents, stepparents, husbands, and boyfriends would have found a means to migrate. “

“Southern black women, as Micki McElya (2007) suggests, were in big demand as servants since their countrified ways appealed to their urban employers, who found them tractable and easy to please. In hiring a maid, white employers sought workers who spoke with southern accents and colloquialisms. In so doing, McElya argues, they were “listening for the mammy’s soft, loving croon described so often in plantation fiction” (214).

“One fact that our interviews reveal is that in Iowa, only blacks with lighter complexions could get the better-paying jobs in the department stores and other establishments. While black men could secure factory work, most of the black women were relegated to various forms of domestic labor.”

Research Asssitance :
Dr. Dellyssa Edinboro 

Map of plantations in Carrol Parish, Louisiana

 The 1860 U.S. Census Slave Schedules for Carroll Parish, Louisiana (NARA microfilm series M653, Roll 427) reportedly includes a total of 13,908 slaves, ranking it the third highest Parish total in Louisiana. This transcription includes the 102 slaveholders who held 40 or more slaves in Carroll Parish, accounting for 10,027 slaves, or 72% of the Parish total. The rest of the slaves in the Parish were held by a total of 496 slaveholders, and those slaveholders have not been included here.  

History of 229 Gilbert
Iowa City, Iowa

Built in 1897 by Jacob j holtz company  on the construction Christian and Clara Dostal Hohenshuh

  • Christian died of the Spanish Flu of 1918 pandemic
  • furniture maker, which meant he built coffins part of the family business and prepared bodies.
  • Clara and her daughter Mary also both contracted the flu
  • When Chris died  Clara returned to living in 229 Gilbert house with her daughter Mary Helen Hohenshuh & her maid from souther Louisana named Vesta

Axis V,  16mm transferred to HD file

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