Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Bowdoin College Museum of Art Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Heat Exhaustion, Ellis Unit, Texas

Advanced Search
Heat Exhaustion, Ellis Unit, Texas

Lat: Lng:


Danny Lyon


Heat Exhaustion, Ellis Unit, Texas

Creation Date


Medium & Support

gelatin silver print


10 7/8 in. x 13 15/16 in. (27.62 cm. x 35.4 cm.)

Credit Line

Gift of Michael G. Frieze, Class of 1960

Accession Number



This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Please suggest keywords to describe this object. Separate multiple keywords by commas. Example: road,angel,technology,toy

Following his time as a photographer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Danny Lyon began to photograph men in Texas prisons for a project entitled Conversations with the Dead. Although these photographs were taken a little over a century after the United States’ abolition of slavery in 1865, they shed light on slavery’s pervasiveness in the country’s founding institutions. The passing of the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in all cases “except as a punishment for crime.” This allowed for the re-criminalization of the newly freed Black body. Black people were incarcerated and subjected to hard labor for menial crimes such as loitering and vagrancy, which continued into the Jim Crow era and the War on Drugs of the late twentieth century, leaving Black communities often in shambles and disproportionately incarcerated 150 years later.

Portfolios: OLD_FEATC|EDUC2221_181025|Fay|Speech and Protest in America