2022 Exhibitors

filters icon


Auburn University Landscape Architecture Program with Conquer the Soil

Auburn University's Graduate Landscape Architecture Program has joined forces with Conquer The Soil to create this exhibit. The MLA program at Auburn prepares students for careers as landscape architects who will imagine, design, and build the 21st century's landscapes. Landscape architecture both offers the tools to engage many of the most pressing issues the world faces today and works with a medium -- the landscape -- that is richly expressive and engaging. In the studio-focused curriculum, students explore contemporary issues, directly engage landscapes and communities outside the walls of the university, and learn with a faculty of leading landscape practitioners and researchers. Conquer the Soil is led by Abra Lee, a horticulturist extraordinaire that humbly describes herself as half country bumpkin, half bougie, occasionally extra, and inherently Southern. In the Spring of 2022, Abra taught an advanced seminar in the MLA program that unpacked the rich stories, histories, and legacies of prominent black gardeners, horticulturalists, and landscape architects. All too often overlooked (even suppressed) and rarely documented in the Euro-centric narratives that dominate the discipline of landscape architecture, this course profiled hidden figures of the field. Among them were: Wormley Hughes, an enslaved African-American who was head gardener at Monticello and dug Jefferson's grave; Annie Vann Reid, an ex-teacher turned entrepreneur in South Carolina who owned a five-acre greenhouse and nursery in the 1940s that sold millions of plants and seeds; David Augustus Williston, a graduate of Cornell University and the first African-American landscape architect, a student of Liberty Hyde Bailey, and the designer of the Tuskegee University campus; and finally Effie Lee Newsome, a nature poet and Harlem Renaissance writer that ultimately became the inspiration of this exhibit.