Extensive Photo Archive of Black Life in America Both Personal and Universal, 1950s-80s

Photo Archive

Extensive archive of 98 photos both in color and black and white of Black life in America. C. 1950s-80s. Photos show ordinary African Americans living out the material of their daily lives individually and in community. Measurements range from 2" x 2" to 5" x 4" in. One image shows a group of three women, two leaning over a kitchen table while the third turns toward the camera, smiling shyly, verso reads in pen "This is the day Shirley took us to take our driving test." Another photo shows two small boys in charming formal wear, one in a a pale yellow suit, the other in a matching suit of powder blue, their postures straight and one with a hand to his forehead while another child can be seen peering over the top of a screen door behind them. Verso reads, "I think this was mothers day. They were clean to the bone you should have seen me." The photos show family gatherings, holiday parties, women in elaborate hats leaving church and young men in baseball jerseys standing with their arms draped across one another's shoulders. One photo of a man sitting on the side of a bed smoking a cigarette has a verso that simply reads, "PETE." The photos are dynamic, beautifully developed in the washed colors of their eras, and filled with expressive subjects suggestive of stories we can only guess at. In one, a man laughs to himself, walking up a flight of stairs while the woman behind him in avocado greens, her hair wrapped in silk, pauses at the banister, smiling toward the camera. Black joy is a phrase used by historians to highlight the positive aspects of Black history separate from its suffering. "Expressions and acts of black joy are often encouraged as a way for Black people to fully be themselves and form a sense of community as a response to systems that devalue them and stifle their self-expression. In this way, engaging in and sharing experiences of Black joy are seen not as ways of ignoring oppression but as acts of resistance against it." (dictionary) One charming image of a man standing with two small boys and a girl all wearing their Sunday best and holding cellophane Easter bags extended reads on verso, "on our way home, no one found a thing so the people felt sorry and gave them a candy egg." Representations of African Americans living lives at once ordinary and inspired, both deeply personal and universal, is an integral piece for any American history archive.

Item #18040

Price: $485.00