What we call "history" is born from a collage of glimpses and images, insights and documents. And while this Gallery does not presume to tell the comprehensive story of early photography and African Americans, it does offer tantalizing glimpses into the past. During the half-century covered by these photographs, African Americans fought slavery, withstood brutal racial hatred, and struggled to escape from poverty. Sometimes the camera was their ally... sometimes it was an instrument of prejudice... but often it was an observer, recording the images that we recognize today as the raw material of history.

Please click on any image or title for a larger version and more information.

Click here if you have a fast internet connection

Unidentified Photographer:

"Slave Boy Brought to Waterbury from Bucks Hill by Aunt Ella Johnson's Second Husband (Whelan)"

Ninth-Plate Ambrotype, circa 1855

Click on any image or title for a larger view and more information

Unidentified Photographer:

"Our Little Pedlars"

Quarter-Plate Ambrotype, circa 1855

Unidentified Photographer (Sold or Published by James W. Queen, Philadelphia):

"The Darkey's Vanity"

Tinted Stereoscopic Albumen Photograph, circa 1860

Black Civil War soldiers at Dutch Gap, Virginia circa 1863 -- click on the image for a larger view and more information
E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. (publishers):

"Bombproof Quarters of Maj. Strong, at Dutch Gap, 16th N. Y. Artillery"

Stereoscopic Albumen Photograph, circa 1863

(detail shown)

Unidentified Photographer:

Civil War Soldiers with a Young "Contraband"

Albumen print carte de visite, circa 1863

Neumann Studio (Buffalo, New York)

Study of Two Children and "Uncle Bob"

Albumen print cabinet cards, circa 1890

convict labor  - a work gang - black prisoners in prison stripes working on railroad tracks -- click on the image for a larger view and more information
Thomas H. Lindsey (active Asheville, North Carolina):

"Stripes but no Stars"

Silver, Silver-Platinum (Satista) or Platinum print, circa 1892

5 x 8 inches

Unidentified Photographer:

Ten Children

Cyanotype, circa 1898

5 x 8 inches

Palmer (Tuskegee, Alabama)

Instructor & Three Graduates with Diplomas and Geraniums

Gelatine-Silver Print, circa 1905

 4 x 5.5 inches

Click here: To Leave A Comment === For Suggested Titles from the Museum Book Shop
(Click on the logo to visit the Museum's Home Page)

 Copyright © 2001 The American Photography Museum, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Internet Development: www.BIGwebsite.com
American Museum of Photography and the logo are Service Marks of The American Photography Museum, Inc.