The African American Experience in Photographs
February 22, 2008 5:38 PM   Subscribe

Missouri's digital archives of African American portraits. African American portraits from Florida's archives. The Black Archives of Mid-America. Missouri's archives, with a specific section for the African American community in northeast Missouri.

Cased photos from California. Civil War soldiers from Michigan. Just for fun.
posted by winna (17 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
This is a fucking excellent post. Thank you.
posted by dersins at 5:45 PM on February 22, 2008

Thank you!

I did forget to mention - when you are in the Missouri archives you can resize the portraits by resizing the window.
posted by winna at 5:48 PM on February 22, 2008

I thought your username was familiar—you made that great post about Glasgow. This is great too. Post more often!
posted by languagehat at 5:59 PM on February 22, 2008

Seconding fucking excellent post. Fascinating and beautiful stuff. I thank you too!
posted by snsranch at 6:00 PM on February 22, 2008

Oh yes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:01 PM on February 22, 2008

Wisconsin, thanks!
posted by fixedgear at 6:23 PM on February 22, 2008

Wonderful! What a contrast these portraits make to the racist depictions of blacks in the popular press at this same time.

Thanks for an excellent post.
posted by LarryC at 6:42 PM on February 22, 2008

OH DAMN Nellie Franklin just stepped straight out of a bandbox! Thanks for the links, winna--is it just me, or has today been a really great day for posts?
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 6:54 PM on February 22, 2008

I see some iPhone wallpapers in there.
posted by sourwookie at 8:45 PM on February 22, 2008

Really beautiful photographs.

Adding this link to the vintage and antique African American photographs: African-Americans and the U.S. Navy.
posted by nickyskye at 9:05 PM on February 22, 2008

From the files of the totally awesome smorgasbord of midcentury found photos website Square America: African-American Snapshots and Portraits.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:35 PM on February 22, 2008

Good and yes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:55 PM on February 22, 2008

Wow. The glut of information available at a mouse-click is fantastic...using all archaic and modern definitions of the word.

Being from MO, it was especially cool. This WAS NOT in our high school library. Books could be written about the implications of this, and probably have.

And thanks, Guy. Very cool!
posted by kozad at 11:04 PM on February 22, 2008

Some of those African American people in the MO link definitely look Native American, imo. Cool link, it's funny how despite all the old fashioned outfits how fresh and contemporary everyone looks. And the teeny weenies are beautifully drawn!
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:24 AM on February 23, 2008

I can't believe nobody has included the extesive Black Americana digital archives of the New York Public Library.

Here's the NYPL's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture which has an amazing online exhibit about the African diaspora, The African-American Migration Experience.

I not only stumbled upon it while researching images for My Black Puerto Rico, but I found a picture of my grandfather's cousin, Vicente Prats Sabater, who was the first member of our family to emigrate to the US mainland from Puerto Rico.

I put together the slideshow as a visual companion to Divide and Conquer : Obama and the Latino Vote in the NY Times, which seeks to tear a new one on anybody who dares to say that : (1) Latinos are devoid of African ancestry and thusly (2) would never vote for Barack Obama.

So here's a bit more of Latin American negritude than what you would have expected on a Saturday morning.

posted by liza at 9:22 AM on February 23, 2008


(1) Well, it's a myth that all hemispheric First Americans look a certain asiatic way and are just a reddish hue of brown. They came in all shades, look and sizes.

(2) Many runaway slaves ended up in native territories. In the Caribbean, cimarroons are considered indigenous Caribes. You have the Misquitos and Garifuna in Central America.

(3) You also have to account for the fact that Africa is extremely diverse and populations from the Northern part of the continent or from regions with high Arab influence are not going to look like the stereotypical black african that people think of when they think "slaves".

Yet, to take it one step further : Pure Blood is such a myth. Even Europeans are a miscegenated bunch.
posted by liza at 9:46 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Missouri was a place where a lot of Cherokees on the Trail of Tears (who inter-married in some places with blacks) fled the death march, hiding in the woods and finding a place there. It makes sense that they would have continued to inter-marry with blacks in Missouri.
posted by RedEmma at 11:28 AM on February 23, 2008

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