A wonderful companion piece to Thomas Allen Harris‘s new film Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People is his Digital Diaspora Family Reunion project — a roadshow connecting communities and history through family photographic archives. Read more about the project in this Documentary Magazine piece, which accurately sums it up as using “the power of interactive media to create a movement to get African Americans to reconsider and revalue their family photo collections.”
Although they say a picture is worth a thousand words, rather than write another thousand words about this idea, here is a small collection of some wonderful historic images of African American people and families, both from the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion collection as well as a from other sources (where noted).
From DDFR participant Trudy Erwin comes this family photo:
From W. E. B. Du Bois’s American Negro Exhibit for the 1900 Paris Exposition, Library of Congress:
Featured in Through a Lens Darkly, important 20th century photographer Gordon Parks is the subject of a super new exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts Boston: Gordon Parks Back to Fort Scott, “groundbreaking photographs of Fort Scott, Kansas — focusing on the realities of life under segregation during the 1940s, but also relating to Parks’s own fascinating life story.” You can preview the exhibition here.
From the Farm Security Administration Collection:
See also: Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, the inaugural exhibition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, featuring photographic portraits of prominent African Americans, highlighting black resistance over the course of 150 years in the United States.