Top of page

Category: African American History

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

Frederick Douglass and the Power of Pictures

Posted by: Melissa Lindberg

Frederick Douglass was a firm believer in the power of pictures. In an 1861 lecture called “Pictures and Progress” by the press, Douglass wondered why photography pioneer Louis Daguerre was not more frequently compared with inventors of such vaunted technologies as the telegraph or the steamboat: “the great father of our modern pictures is seldom …

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

New Guide – Great Migration: Finding Pictures

Posted by: Melissa Lindberg

The Prints & Photographs Division regularly receives questions about how to find pictures related to the Great Migration – when millions of African Americans, many of whom lived in the rural American South, permanently relocated to cities to the north and west. These individuals had many reasons for leaving their homes, but they were spurred …

Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length self-portrait dressed as a man. Photo (albumen silver print) by Frances Benjamin Johnston, between 1890 and 1900. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsc.04884

Frances Benjamin Johnston’s Hampton Album: A Researcher’s Exploration

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Micah Messenheimer, Curator of Photography, Prints & Photographs Division. Conversations with visiting researchers that lead to new appreciation for the many interconnections among Library of Congress collections are one of the pleasures of my job as a photography curator. The following interview was done with Jane Pierce, Carl …

Septima Clark and Rosa Parks at Highlander. Photo by Ida Berman, 1955. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.47364

Behind the Scenes: Inspired by Rosa Parks

Posted by: Melissa Lindberg

The following interview with Luis Clavell, Program Specialist at the Library of Congress, marks the anniversary of December 1st, 1955, when Rosa Parks was arrested for keeping her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Luis is instrumental in bringing the Rosa Parks collection to the public and serves on a team that manages …

“Shall Not Be Denied” Exhibition: A Single Image Prompts Further Looking

Posted by: Melissa Lindberg

The Library of Congress’s exhibition, “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” is a visually rich celebration of the women who laid the groundwork for women’s suffrage in the United States. Discussing the origins of the movement, the activities immediately leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, and the …

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

Caught Our Eyes: A Thought-Provoking Farm Security Administration Negative

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

Digital Conversion Technician Brittany Long added this image to our “Caught Our Eyes” sharing wall a few months ago, with a two-word comment: “Representation Matters.” Brittany encountered the image while working on a team that is going negative by negative through a segment of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) Collection to make …