Grace Ali Keeps Her Photos Safe

“This is my only connection to that place,” confides journalist Grace Ali, founder of the “Of Note” ( online magazine, as she holds images from her family photo album which was first created in her homeland of Guyana. “I’ve become the one who took the role of keeping them safe”

During her conversation with filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris at the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR) Roadshow held at Harlem Stage, Ms. Ali shares, “The life for an immigrant woman is not an easy one.” Cradling an image of her mother as a young woman, Ms. Ali continues, “I’m really fascinated by her, a hard working woman, committed to her family. She’s the one that has kept us together”. Ms. Ali takes particular pride in the image of her mother at the age of eight, standing next to her grandmother. “I look at it and I see that my mother and I grow parallel to each other”.

Among the many family stories that these photos bare witness to, a constant theme is present, Grace Ali reflects on, “Seeing people go off to the airport and not see them come back”. In fact, some of the photographs that Ms. Ali shared with Thomas Allen Harris take place at the airport, where families congregate, perhaps for the last time, to see their relatives follow their dreams to a new land.

4 Responses to Grace Ali Keeps Her Photos Safe

  1. Patricia -Patsy Wright May 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Not so unique –  Thousands of immigrant families share the same shots of growing up, parting all in the name of immigrating to a “better” place. Later we look longingly at these same pictures, wondering if we can go back “home”

  2. Bilalh76 August 30, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    The quiet strength exuded by the mother was so typical and admirable of women in the diaspora. When I look at her I see my mother, my aunts, my grandmothers. All strong, proud and endowed with the mission of rasing a family under the pressure of the oppressor. That's a story that never gets old.


  1. Film Activist Thomas Allen Harris Documents Role of Photography in Shaping African-American Identities : Of Note Magazine - July 23, 2012

    […] many under-the-radar stories within our combined histories. I first collaborated with Harris on the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, a multi-media project that sought to excavate family photos and uncover the valuable stories […]

  2. Grace Ali’s Guyana Family Photo Archive - September 18, 2013

    […] about DDFR from a friend and fellow journalist Pamela Newkirk (who had participated in one of the DDFR Roadshows at the Brooklyn Public Library last year with her book, Letters From Black America).  After […]

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