In her first book, LaToya Ruby Frazier offers an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America's small towns, as embodied by Braddock, Pennsylvania, Frazier's hometown. The work also considers the impact of that decline on the community and on her family, creating a statement both personal and truly political--an intervention in the histories and narratives of the region that are dominated by stories of Andrew Carnegie and Pittsburgh's industrial past, but largely ignore those of black families and the working classes. Frazier has set her story of three generations--her Grandma Ruby, her mother and herself--against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility.
A 2016 residency at Grand-Hornu allowed LaToya to pursue her work on post-industrial society in Belgium, turning her camera to the Borinage, a mining region whose intense activity in the 19th century was diminished by a series of crises that led to the closure of the last mine in 1976. Testimonies gathered by Frazier from the former miners and their families have resulted in And from the Coaltips a Tree Will Rise, an extensive collection of portraits, landscapes and still lives.