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Images of African-Americans in the 19th - 20th Centuries

The photo collections from the Library of Congress, Emory University, Library of Congress and others have made them possible to view online through a couple different locations. For those who have the subscription, the collection of photos of African-Americans covering 1850 to 2000 is now available. The site is easy to search, with keywords, dates or locations to search. For any surnames, place those in the keyword slot. There are many scenes of everyday life in numerous locations. When known, people are identification by name, which helps in the search. There are scores of images showing typical and not so typical houses, especially in rural areas.

In the Library of Congress collection there are nearly 7,000 images of African-Americans for those to search who do not have a paid subscription. These images also range from the mid-1800s into the 20th century. Use the search box to place keywords (surnames, places, dates). Or just take your time to go over each of the pages of images. Many times something will spark a place or name you hadn’t thought of. Some are in a group of images all related to a similar topic.

The Emory University of Georgia collection of African-American photographs numbers over 10,000. This vast collection ranges from the 1840s with the birth of photography to the 1970s, with the greatest number from 1865 to 1940. Some in the collection were done by African-American photographers. This set is newly acquired and not online yet, but at the Emory Library.

An online site is trying to put together a collection of African-American images. It is ‘OPOAA’ which is Old Photos of African-Americans. They presently have 67 albums, each varied in the number of images in each album. There is a search box to place a name or place. It can be searched in all the albums or just certain ones.

In the National Archives are photos online of Africa-American soldiers during World War II. There were some 2.5 million African-American males registered for the war draft and countless black women volunteered to serve. For each of the ten categories in this collection; such as U. S. Army, Women in the Military and Personalities there is a description of who, when and where. You can then click on it to see the full enlarged photograph.

A variety of collections online and more to come which are all worthy reviewing.

Photo: Business street scene for the local African-American residents in Belle Glade, Florida in 1937 – region known for its sugar production.

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