White Flight

Woven photographs, linen tape, 10.5” x 13.5”
With this series, I am using an image of the General Lee, the mechanical star of the early 80s TV series, The Dukes of Hazzard, (owned and operated by the fictitious Duke cousins) as a symbol of the white flight social phenomenon seen in the US during the post war 1950s and 60s. In nearly every episode, the Duke boys would be pursued by the law or hooligans in a high speed car chase. The chase would usually conclude with the Dukes coming across a conveniently placed ramp in a construction zone or back country roadway where the General Lee would take flight, engine roaring, Dixie horn blaring, to escape peril with a celebratory rebel yell from its passengers.

Due to the GI bill fueled economic boom after WWII, many white families left the urban areas to pursue the American dream of homeownership in the racially exclusive suburbs (federal mortgage programs and many privately owned banks denied loans to minorities). While middle class white families were enjoying the benefits of a conveniently placed ramp (the GI Bill, admission to higher education and private schools, access to better jobs with higher wages, safer neighborhoods, a newly constructed infrastructure supported by a growing tax base, and lower insurance costs), minority families and impoverished whites were left to continue the desperate chase of living one step ahead of economic disaster in America's cities.