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2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration: LaToya Ruby Frazier: About


The Kelvin Smith Library provides the campus community with access to world-class research collections, technology-equipped classrooms and meeting spaces, state-of-the-art digital resources and even a café.  

This guide was created for the keynote speaker of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation in 2019. Each year, Case Western Reserve University honors Martin Luther King, Jr.—the holiday, the man and the legacy—with a celebration that includes a range of activities including workshops, films, panel discussions and acclaimed speakers.The 2019 celebration theme is "Through the Lens of Our Stories: The King Legacy Today."

This Kelvin Smith Library Research Guide offers a variety of information below, plus more on these additional pages:


LaToya Ruby Frazier profile imageLaToya Ruby Frazier is a photographer and video artist who uses visual autobiographies to capture social inequality and historical change in the postindustrial age. She is currently an Associate Professor of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has previously held academic and curatorial positions at Yale University School of Art, Rutgers University, and Syracuse University

​ ​Frazier​ was born in  Braddock, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in applied media arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (2004) and her Master of Fine Arts degree in art photography from Syracuse University (2007). She also studied under the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (2010–2011) and was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow for visual arts at the American Academy in Berlin (2013–2014). 

Frazier works in photography, video and performance to build visual archives that address industrialism, rust belt revitalization, environmental justice, healthcare inequity, family and communal history. In 2015 her first book The Notion of Family (Aperture 2014) received the International Center for Photography Infinity Award.

Frazier lectures prolifically at academic and cultural institutions. Her work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and  internationally, with notable solo exhibitions.  Her work can be found in public and private art collections such as Brooklyn Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Library of Congress.

Frazier is the recipient of many honors and awards including an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute (2017); fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation's MacArthur Fellows Program (2015) and TED Fellows (2015). In 2015, the Allegheny County Council (Pennsylvania, USA) awarded Frazier a Proclamation thanking her for "examining race, class, gender and citizenship in our society and inspiring a vision for the future that offers inclusion, equity and justice to all."

Frazier has worked with other contemporary issues such as the Flint water crisis, and contributed photographs to a New York Times project, "Why America's Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis."