Posts Tagged ‘Black History Month’

Mulatto ex-slave in her house near Greensboro, Alabama

Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Best of The Commons

Jack Delano
Mulatto ex-slave in her house near Greensboro, Alabama, May 1941, May 1941
New York Public Library:

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Black History across the Commons – Part 2

Posted by zyrcster in Across The Commons

Our celebration continues with part two of our Black History Month subcurated collection. We bring you a selection of images from renowned photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Rosebud Denham in embossed dress and feather hat

The State Archives of Florida holds a collection of images from noted portrait photographer Alvan S. Harper. Alvan S. Harper was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, in 1847. Between 1870 and 1884, he was a professional photographer in Philadelphia. Harper moved to Tallahassee in 1884. He was soon advertising that he would take “artistic photographs” in his first studio, a room in the house he was renting. He moved twice before buying a house and building his own studio, where he worked between 1889 and his death in 1911.

State Archives of Florida
Man with sideburns wearing dark coat

Some of Harper’s best negatives were lost when his studio was torn down in the 1920s. The negatives had been given to a Tallahassee historian who, because they were dirty, left them on a porch where they were mistaken for trash and taken to the dump. About 2,000 more Harper negatives were found in 1946 in the attic of the house he had owned. A Tallahassee photographer printed 250 negatives and circulated the prints in the community for identification.

State Archives of Florida
Navy Hill School

At the Library of Virginia is the Adolph B. Rice Studio Collection, which constitutes a unique photographic record of life in Richmond, Virginia from 1949 to 1961. The collection consists of more than 16,000 4×5-inch film negatives from the commercial studio of Adolph B. Rice.

Library of Virginia
City recreation, tennis

Adolph B. Rice Sr. (1909–1960) opened his first photo studio in Richmond in 1949. The studio remained on North Auburn Avenue until it ceased operation in 1961. His clients included businesses, industry, and state and local government. The Library invites the public to identify the images and provide captions for the more than 200 Rice Studio photographs on Flickr.

Library of Virginia
Going to town on Saturday afternoon, Greene Co., Ga.
–by Jack Delano, May 1941.

During the Great Depression, in 1935, the Farm Service Administration was developed as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal to to combat American rural poverty. The Library of Congress is the repository for all of these now-famous images by the leading photographers of the era.

Library of Congress
Negro boy near Cincinnati, Ohio
6— by John Vachon, 1942 or ‘43.

The FSA is famous for its small but highly influential photography program, led under the auspices of Roy Stryker, that realistically portrayed the challenges of rural poverty. Check out the comments on this photo as a leading example of the power of the Flickr Commons to encourage healthy debate and community.

Library of Congress
Bayou Bourbeau plantation, an FSA cooperative, Natchitoches, La. A Negro family (?) seated on the porch of a house
— by Marion Post Wolcott, 1940.

As an FSA documentary photographer, I was committed to changing the attitudes of people by familiarizing America with the plight of the underprivileged, especially in rural America … FSA photographs shocked and aroused public opinion to increase support for the New Deal policies and projects, and played an important part in the social revolution of the 30s.
Marion Post Wolcott.

Library of Congress
Negro school children, Omar, W. Va.
— by Ben Shahn

The New York Public Library also has some FSA holdings. Its collection on Flickr does not overlap the LOC’s (so far!). Learn more about the NYPL’s holdings by visiting their Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture website.

New York Public Library
Omar, mining town, West Virginia, 1935
—by Ben Shahn.

Throughout the Great Depression, Stryker provided photographic evidence for exhibition and to the media of the living and working conditions throughout America. The Roosevelt administration believed these images were useful for persuading not only voters but members of Congress to support federal relief and recovery programs. As the Depression wore on it was important to illustrate the positive effects of these programs. Shahn traveled to several planned communities in the south, where he photographed people engaged in productive activities and thriving because of government assistance. —Susan H. Edwards

New York Public Library

Electric Chair at Sing Sing

Posted by striatic in Best of The Commons
William M. Vander Weyde
Electric Chair at Sing Sing, ca. 1900
George Eastman House: 1974:0056:0386

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Black History across the Commons – Part 1

Posted by zyrcster in Across The Commons

February is Black History Month in the US and Canada. This is part one of a two-part Across the Commons, celebrating African American heritage in the institutions’ collections.

The Black List Project Podcast

This panel discussion, moderated by Elvis Mitchell, interviewer for The Black List Project, continues the exhibition’s consideration of how race, history, and each individual’s striving shape and enrich their stories of success. The discussion, held at the Brooklyn Museum on January 31, centered on the future for black women now that First Lady Obama and her daughters have moved into the White House.

By Amanda Adams Lewis for Brooklyn Museum
Rebecca, Augusta and Rosa.
Slave Children from New Orleans
by M.H. Kimball, circa 1863.

rosewithoutathorn84 says:

These children were probably dressed up nicely like this to create a heart-tugging image for northerners, thereby helping the abolitionist cause. Like a picture of a baby harp seal being used to represent all marine life, this is most likely a positive-propaganda image meant to arouse sympathy for those in slavery.

George Eastman House
Company of colored troops
—Alexander Gardner, 1865

In 1861, the Government officially recognized and empowered the United States Sanitary Commission, a civilian organization, to conduct inquiries regarding the sanitary condition of the volunteer troops, and to advise on the means to promote their health, comfort and efficiency. — New York Public Library

Company of colored troops.

New York Public Library

Black man with white child and dog — 1890

LMangue says:

This Barke’s gelatin silver print cabinet card was taken, or at least processed, in Council Bluffs and Missouri Valley, Iowa around 1890, well after Lincoln’s proclamation had been signed (1863) and had taken effect (1865).Before, during and after slaves were freed it was not that uncommon to see household servants treating white children as if they were their very own. Black servants did in fact raise several generations of white children. Children came to regard their caretakers kindly (in many cases) and might even regard their caretakers with the same affection held for their very own parents.

Black man with white child and dog.

George Eastman House

Jack Johnson

From the George Grantham Bain Collection of the Library of Congress, taken between 1910 and 1915, is this magnificent portrait of the great Texas boxer Jack Johnson, who became the first heavyweight champion of black boxing. Jim Jeffries, the reigning champ, refused to fight him at the time because of his skin color. Johnson finally fought and beat Jeffries in Las Vegas, NV, in 1910.

Library of Congress
Sam Langford

Also from the LOC’s Bain Collection, this is a strong portrait of Canadian boxing legend Sam Langford, the “Greatest Fighter Nobody Knows,” whose boxing career spanned 1903 until 1926. This image was taken from a glass negative.

Library of Congress
Lee and Renee Harris pose on Easter morning in New York City.

From the Smithsonian Institution:

Creator/Photographer: Unidentified photographer
Medium: Gelatin silver print
Date: 1946
Collection: Lee Harris Papers
Repository: Anacostia Community Museum
Gift line: Gift of Mr. Lee Harris
Accession number: PH 2003.7078.053

Smithsonian Institution
Color guard of Negro engineers, Ft. Belvoir(?), [Va.]This from a collection of images transferred from the U.S. Office of War Information in 1944 to the Library of Congress.

Cashaw says:

Yes, blacks went to the battle field to help fight racism. What is truly interesting is it was these very same people who helped to start the Civil Rights movement. My grandfather told some very interesting stories about WWII, and coming home.

Library of Congress
Young man playing drums during Kwanzaa celebration

Photographed in 1989 by Harold Do and residing at the Smithsonian, this photograph celebrates the week long holiday of Kwanzaa, honoring African heritage. Ron Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first specifically African American holiday. Karenga said his goal was to:

… give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.

Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Institution

Carnival of the Commons- Black History Month

Posted by zyrcster in Carnival of The Commons

US/Canada Black History Month

February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada, and various institutions are featuring events and exhibitions:

  • Programs and artwork from the Brooklyn Museum include the Black List Project, an exhibition of twenty-five portraits by internationally renowned photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders that explores being Black in America.
  • The George Eastman House has a discovery kit, African Americans: Black History through Photography.
  • African-American history month is also celebrated at the Library of Congress.
  • See the African-American Trailblazers exhibit from the Library of Virginia — including an essay contest!
  • The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library has a variety of exhibits and events.
  • At the Smithsonian Institution:
    > Black history teaching resources
    > Black history heritage month
  • Go Visit!

    11 Feb.: It’s a Flickr meetup at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England! Join people from Flickr and the NMM for a meet and greet. Meet this Wednesday at 15:30 at the ROG cafe — that’s downstairs from the Astronomy Galleries, in the ROG’s south building. Here’s more info on how to get there if you haven’t been before. See this discussion for more details.

    11 Feb.: The National Media Museum, UK, In collaboration with University of Bradford, presents From the Vault, a very special selection of “forgotten” films, carefully chosen from their store of limited prints. First up this Wednesday is My Name Is Nobody at 18:00.

    11 Feb.: Noon–1 PM at the Library of Virginia, Law Touched Our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education. Editors Mildred W. Robinson and Richard J. Bonnie will offer an overview of the moving stories of those who attended public school soon after the Brown v. The Board of Education decision and saw the course of their lives and their society change.

    Ending 11 Feb is the Advancing to victory, 1918 exhibition at the Australian War Memorial, featuring maps, photographs, art, medals plus an 18-pounder field gun and an exposed portion of a British Mark IV tank from the final days of the Great War.

    Through 14 Mar. at the National Library of New Zealand, Welcome Sweet Peace, which brings together an array of material from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library that commemorate and celebrate the end of hostilities, and chart the dramatic transformation of the New Zealand home front during and after the Great World War.

    New Flickr sets from The Commons

    ArtisNationaal Archief
    Kittens Kittens Kittens!

    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) – Library of Congress
    Curator of photography Carol Johnson has selected images that let you see how Lincoln looked over 20 years—from the earliest known photographic likeness in 1846, through the U.S. presidential campaign of 1860, and the pressures of the Civil War years. Views from Lincoln’s funeral in 1865 and portraits of his immediate family are also included.

    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

    Henry Ossawa Tanner

    Posted by Stephanie Fysh in Best of The Commons

    Frederick Gutekunst
    Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1907
    Smithsonian Institution: aaa_tannhenr_5871

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    Read more about the painter Henry Ossawa Tanner.

    The Commons includes many images of African Americans in its member collections. We hope you will look to The Commons as a resource during Black History Month.