Willoughby Hills
Willoughby Hills with Heath Racela
119. Richard Frishman and B. Brian Foster on Ghosts of Segregation

119. Richard Frishman and B. Brian Foster on Ghosts of Segregation

Welcome to another episode of the Willoughby Hills podcast!

Richard Frishman (left) and B. Brian Foster (right)

On today’s episode, I speak with Richard Frishman and B. Brian Foster, the duo behind the incredible new book Ghosts of Segregation: American Racism, Hidden in Plain Sight.

Rich is an award-winning photojournalist who spent several years traveling the country, photographing signs of American racism in our built environment. In some cases, these are modern places like the street corner where George Floyd was murdered. In others, they are relics left over from another time, like an unused door in an alleyway beside a theater that was once the “colored” entrance.

Rich’s philosophy on photography really speaks to me. Here’s how he describes his work on his website:

“All human landscape has cultural meaning. Because we rarely consider our constructions as evidence of our priorities, beliefs and desires, the testimony our landscape tells is perhaps more honest than anything we might intentionally present. Our built environment is society's autobiography writ large.”

Ghosts of Segregation is partially a book of photos, but it’s also a book of beautiful essays written by B. Brian Foster, Ph.D. Brian is a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia with a focus on documenting and interpreting the culture, folklore, and placemaking practices of Black communities in the rural U.S. South. His writing helps give context to Rich’s photos and helps center and ground the book around the Black experience in the U.S.

For me at least, Ghosts of Segregation is not just a book to read; it’s a book to experience. I was deeply moved by both the photography and the writing and found myself thinking about the content of the book long after setting it down.

Brian and Rich brought so much heart and passion to this conversation and I learned a lot from speaking with both of them. I hope you will feel engaged in listening to this episode and that it will encourage you to further engage with their book and their work.

You can learn more about this project at the Ghosts of Segregation website. B. Brian Foster is also the author of I Don’t Like the Blues.

If you enjoy this interview, you may also like my twice-weekly email newsletter about our changing relationship to home, work, building, shopping, eating, and more. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox, plus get notified when new podcast episodes are posted:

Related Episodes:

Listening Tip:

You can stream this episode on the go using the Substack app.

Read Willoughby Hills in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

You can also click “Listen On” in the player at the top of this post to load this episode on your favorite podcast app, or search “Willoughby Hills” in your favorite podcast app too.

Willoughby Hills
Willoughby Hills with Heath Racela
Quarantine Creatives is now Willoughby Hills. Join TV producer/director Heath Racela as he chats with interesting guests with unique perspectives on our ever evolving relationships to work, home, community, culture, food, the environment, and more.