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Category: African American History

House Black Caucus Shirley Chisholm. Photo by Warren K. Leffler, 1973. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.55931

Shirley Chisholm in Pictures: Unbought and Unbossed

Posted by: Melissa Lindberg

Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for many who would follow her footsteps into national politics. As an activist who was often in the public eye, she is well represented in Prints & Photographs Division collections. Elected as a Representative for New York’s 12th congressional district in 1968, Chisholm was the first Black woman to serve …

Smiling woman dressed in outdoor winter clothes holds a large, old-style camera

Celebrating Artists’ Portraits at the Library of Congress for African American History Month

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following guest post is by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints, Prints & Photographs Division In honor of African American History Month, this gathering of extraordinary individual and group portraits by contemporary artists features works that speak of community, family, and the envisioned past, present, and future. Nelson Stevens’s vibrant screenprint called Spirit Sister, …

Smiling woman dressed in outdoor winter clothes holds a large, old-style camera

Letterpress Artist Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.’s Rosa Parks Series

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

This guest post by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints, Prints & Photographs Division, highlights posters that complement the New York Poster House exhibition “The Letterpress Posters of Amos Kennedy” (October 8, 2020–January 3, 2021), curated by Angelina Lippert. Detroit-based letterpress artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. wields wood type and ink in ways that can …

Smiling woman dressed in outdoor winter clothes holds a large, old-style camera

Reflecting on Roland Freeman’s African American Expressive Culture in Philadelphia Project

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Victoria Bankole, an Archives, History, and Heritage Advanced Intern in the Prints & Photographs Division in spring 2020. “Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.” — Octavia E. Butler Just as author Octavia Butler created herself through writing, photographers such as Roland Freeman use their …

Smiling woman dressed in outdoor winter clothes holds a large, old-style camera

Born in Slavery: Portraits and Narratives of Formerly Enslaved People

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. One way to commemorate this anniversary might be to explore the online collection Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938. More than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of formerly enslaved people are available online. These narratives were collected in …

Smiling woman dressed in outdoor winter clothes holds a large, old-style camera

Camilo J. Vergara’s Photographs of African American Communities in America’s Cities

Posted by: Melissa Lindberg

My images throughout time give glimpses into poverty, segregation, and perseverance in cities throughout America during the past half century. They are part of an evolving historical record, contributing stories of resilience and pride … Camilo J. Vergara has been photographing low-income, racially segregated neighborhoods in American cities since the 1970s. Earlier this year, the …

Susie King Taylor, known as the first African American Army nurse. Photo, published 1902. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.57593

Susie King Taylor: The Courage of an African American Nurse and Teacher

Posted by: Melissa Lindberg

Below is an interview with Elizabeth Lindqwister, the summer 2019 Liljenquist Family Fellow, and Prints & Photographs Division staff members, Karen Chittenden and Micah Messenheimer, about creating a Story Map focusing on the Civil War experience of Susie King Taylor. Many courageous people are pulling double and triple duty in this time of quarantine for …