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Category: African American History

Portrait of Harriet Tubman. Photo by Benjamin F. Powelson, 1868 or 1869. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.54230

Celebrating Harriet Tubman and the Emily Howland Album

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

Last week, Prints and Photographs Division staff had an opportunity to participate in Washington, D.C.’s first annual celebration of Harriet Tubman Day, which represented several very satisfying convergences. The official Harriet Tubman Day is March 10th, the date of Tubman’s death (the date of her birth is not known). The celebration was held March 8th  …

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

Remembering the African American Soldiers of the 9th U.S. Volunteer Infantry

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Jonathan Eaker, Reference Librarian, Prints & Photographs Division. Recently while going through some military photos in our collection I came across a set of twelve undigitized group portraits showing African American soldiers at the time of the Spanish American War. The photos launched me on research about a …

Hallie Quinn Brown. Photo by F. S. Biddle, between 1875 and ca. 1888. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.50302

Portraits of Nineteenth Century African American Women Activists Newly Available Online

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Beverly Brannan, Curator of Photography, Prints & Photographs Division. African American women as well as men assumed civic responsibilities in the decades after the Civil War. William Henry Richards (1856-1941) was active in several organizations that promoted civil rights and civil liberties for African Americans at the end …

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

Signs of Their Times: “Jim Crow” Was Here

Posted by: Jeff Bridgers

It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other in any game of cards or dice, dominoes or checkers. –Birmingham, Alabama, 1930. “Jim Crow” laws systematically codified separation by race in the American South. Although it had begun some years before and persisted for some …

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

Althea Gibson Points the Way

Posted by: Barbara Orbach Natanson

I admire this photograph of Althea Gibson—and the notable woman it depicts–for several reasons. A news photo from our New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, it shows Gibson at a tennis clinic reportedly attended by 500 students at Midwood High School. Tennis racket in hand, index finger extended, Gibson is literally giving pointers to …

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

Du Bois’s American Negro Exhibit for the 1900 Paris Exposition

Posted by: Jeff Bridgers

In this exhibit there are, of course, the usual paraphenalia for catching the eye — photographs, models, industrial work, and pictures. But it does not stop here; beneath all this is a carefully thought-out plan, according to which the exhibitors have tried to show: (a) The history of the American Negro. (b) His present condition. …