Tracing the Atlantic Slave Trade Through Book Art





Artist Martha Edgerton chronicles the strength, courage and grace of the African people


“The Amazing Race: The Atlantic Slave Trade Through the Pages of Book Art” is on display at the Bel Air Library through November 13.

An artist’s talk about the exhibition will be given by Martha Edgerton on Sunday, October 23, at 2 p.m. at the Bel Air Library. Edgerton spent 30 years as a conservator at Johns Hopkins and turned her skills to creating book art when she retired.

Using traditional and contemporary bookmaking and paper crafting, Edgerton designed the exhibition to chronicle certain aspects of the Atlantic slave experience from its beginnings in Africa to its early years in the Americas. Each uniquely handmade art object was created from scratch or by the alteration of an existing book/paper object.

There are 25 book art pieces on display, accompanied by panels that  outline the various aspects of the slave trade as represented in the art.

The exhibition demonstrates the extraordinary strength, courage and grace of the African people and their descendants who survived this African diaspora to become valuable, productive citizens of the Americas.

“Martha Edgerton’s work is amazing to behold,” said Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library. “The story she tells through 25 pieces of book art in ‘The Amazing Race’ is very moving. We are grateful to Martha for sharing her talent and expertise with us.”

Another event in conjunction with the exhibition is a Meet the Author gathering featuring Lucy Maddox, author of “The Parker Sisters: A Border Kidnapping,” on Sunday, November 6, at 2 p.m. at the Bel Air Library. “The Parker Sisters” is about the 1851 kidnapping of Elizabeth and Rachel Parker in Pennsylvania and the implications of the Fugitive Slave Law.

Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. The library serves more than 185,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 3.8 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading in the community. For more information, visit

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