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These are the photographs that inspired our booth today. Leave us a message in the space below!

This woman looks into the camera with a confidence and clarity that inspires us. We do not know her name, but her portrait is one of nearly 350 photographs in The William A. Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs at the Library of Congress, who purchased the images from Mr. Gladstone in 1995. Those taken prior to 1923 are in the public domain: many of these cover military and social history during and after the Civil War. This woman sat for photographer Frank Forshew sometime in the 1870s. Reproduction Num: LC-DIG-ppmsca-11064 

The Gladstone Collection

Two different generations are captured in a moment of discernment so clearly expressed in their facial expressions. Both photos are from 1943 by photographer John Collier, and part of a massive collection of negatives in the Library of Congress from the Farm Security Administration (FSA)/Office of War Information (OWI). Collier greatly expanded his reputation through the photography he produced for the FSA in 1941-43. Being works commissioned by the U.S. Government, his images in the collection are not eligible for copyright. Reproduction Num:  LC-DIG-fsa-8d25851 (woman); LC-DIG-fsa-8d25975 (schoolgirls)

The FSA / OWI Negatives

Trying to fight stereotypes and counteract black people’s lack of visibility in the media — goals we aspire for today were no less pressing for W.E. Burghardt Du Bois in 1900. He and Thomas Calloway worked tirelessly for months to prepare an exhibit at the Paris Exposition/l’Exposition Universelle de 1900. This “Exhibit of American Negroes” used many forms of media (maps, charts, photographs, documents, texts) to chart the progress black people had made since the end of American slavery. The two photos above, probably taken in 1899 or 1900, were part of one album and among 500 other evoking images of strong, successful, resolute black women and men. Reproduction Num: LC-USZ62-124796 (woman); LC-USZ62-124799 (gentleman)

The 1900 Paris Exposition

Capt. Daniel Whiting of the 7th Infantry drew this view of the camp of the “army of occupation” in Corpus Christi as it might have appeared. General Zachary Taylor commanded the military force ordered there in 1845 after Congress passed a resolution to annex the Republic of Texas. Taylor established his base camp at Corpus Christi; by the spring of 1846 it housed nearly half of the United States Army. The general a few years later would become President of the United States. Reproduction Num: LC-DIG-pga-06718

Birds-eye view (from the N.)

The names of the young faces in these photos are lost to history. They come from a private collection of cartes de visite (“visiting cards”), a form of portrait photography in the mid- to late-1800s. As a thin paper print, these cards were relatively inexpensive and could be sent in the mail. For many people this was the first time they could collect portraits of their family and friends —​ leading to a wildly popular photo craze, not too different from today.

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