Last year, Cornell Botanic Gardens launched “Seeds of Survival and Celebration: Plants and the Black Experience,” a garden installation and exhibit that honors the plants and plant knowledge significant to African American culture dating to the transatlantic slave trade. In summer and fall 2023, the exhibition returns with an expanded plant collection, more stories, and vernacular garden features reflective of African American culture.
Seeds of Survival and Celebration bears witness to the survival of a people despite tragic histories while celebrating the lasting influence of the formerly enslaved and their descendants on American culture.
“This is a story that has been in existence, but not very well known or told,” said Catherine Thrasher-Carroll, a member of the advisory group for the project and former mental health promotion program director at Cornell Health. “I am very proud to be a Black person. I have ancestors who were enslaved people in Griffin, Georgia. These stories represent their ability to survive, and their creativity in the use of the earth and plants.”