Black History Through Archival Images: Part 1

Flickr Commons’ Curated Albums

Too many images of underrepresented people and groups go unidentified in archival collections. For Black History Month in the United States we’re showcasing some of our curated collections which tell the stories of Black experiences.

First place finisher at the 13th annual Fat Cattle Sale and Show in Quincy, Florida

These boys from Parramore High in Gadsden County earned first spot in judging of fat cattle. Each was rated at 100 percent by professional representatives and members of A&M faculty. They are Bobby Gunn, Andrew Brown, Ceasel Houston and Alphonzo Sparks Jr.

We know the names of the people in this picture because someone who worked for the State Library and Archives of Florida took the time to link this image with the note that accompanied it in their archives. We thank them for it.


Library of Congress: Gordon Parks – Black Life in War-Time America

Daytona Beach, Florida. Bethune-Cookman College. Girl welder in the NYA (National Youth Administration) school (LOC)

Curated by Library of Congress intern Antonio Austin, this album showcases everyday life of Black Americans in the 1940s “emphasizing representations of Black joy within everyday experiences even in difficult times.” Austin discusses his curatorial decision making and observations in this LOC blog post.

Washington, D.C. Government charwoman (LOC)

Read more about Ella Watson (above) in the Flickr comments. The LOC has assembled an album of African American Activists for images frequently requested from the library.

Nannie Helen Burroughs, 1879- (LOC)


US National Archives: DOCUMERICA – John H White

The National Archives shares historical photos such as this one of Howard P. Perry the first Black man to enlist in the U. S. Marine Corps in 1942 as part of their African American History Month album.

"Breaking a tradition of 167 years, the U.S. Marine Corps started enlisting Negroes on June 1, 1942, ca. 1941 - ca. 1945

More interesting are the day-in-the-life images from the DOCUMERICA project in the 1970s.

Youngsters on the July 4th Holiday at the Kosciusko Swimming Pool in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant District ... 07/1974

John H. White is a photojournalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982. One hundred and eighty of his photographs are available with No Known Copyright Restrictions.

15-0673MBlack Muslim Women Dressed In White Applaud Elijah Muhammad During The Delivery Of His Annual Savior's Day Message In Chicago, 03/1974

Black Children Play Outside The Ida B. Wells Homes, One Of Chicago's Oldest Housing Projects. There Are 1,652 Apartments Housing 5,920 Persons In 124 Buildings On The South Side, 05/1973


Schlesinger Archives: Black Women Oral History Project Interviews, 1976–1981

This was a project undertaken by the Schlesinger Library to “…fill the library’s information gap on black women. Now, the 70 women have told their stories, and tapes of the collection will be distributed to 13 institutions around the country.” The interviews are archived on their website and are complemented with photographs of the interviewees by Judith Sedwick.




New York Public Library: Farm Security Administration Collection: 1935-1944

The New York Public Library created an assorted collection of Depression-era photographs from the Farm Security Administration Collection by Ben Shahn, Jack Delano and Marion Post Wolcott among others.  While some of the people in these images are identified, many other pictures tell stories of segregation and unequal access to resources without identifying the people in the photographs

Mrs. Gus Wright, Farm Security Administration client with he...

Negro laborers sitting around in front of a fire on Saturday...

Interior of school on Mileston Plantation; School begins ver...

The barbed-wire enclosed camp for migratory workers at the C...

Follow this link to go to Part 2 of our Black History Through Archival Images post.