This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

January 26, 2010

The Beautiful Struggle

Filed under: Photography and Photo Essays — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 5:00 pm

"Negro going in colored entrance..." Library of Congress,

If you have dropped by this spot before, you know I have a thing for black and white photography, and black and white historical images of African Americans in particular. There is a subset of these images that are of hardship, struggle, pain. Yet many images are still what I would characterize as beautiful—sometimes startlingly so.

Such is the case with these photographs, more from Flickr’s incredible collection of public domain photographs, The Commons.

These may not be famous works of photographic art from their periods, but they masterfully capture important slices of history. But beyond that, they are beautiful works of art.

As was the case of the people in my post “My People and Other People’s Children,” I do not know who the subjects of these photographs are. But I claim them, proudly, as my own ancestors. I am grateful to them, for enduring, and to the photographers who captured their beauty.

"Cultivating sugar cane..." Library of Congress,

"Electric phosphate smelting furnace..." Library of Congress

"Woman carrying bundle on head..." New York Public Library

"Woman carrying bundle on head..." New York Public Library

"Negro laborers..." New York Public Library

"Company stores and offices and clinic of Delta Pine Company..." New York Public Library

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