Picturing Black History

About this Episode

Guests
Bob Ahern, Dawn Chitty, Damarius Johnson, James Morgan

Learn about an exciting new collaboration that marries photographs and words to bring Black history to life. Picturing Black History (https://www.picturingblackhistory.org/) is a collaborative project between Getty Images and Ohio State’s Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective (http://origins.osu.edu) that contributes to the ongoing public dialogue on the significance of Black history and Black life. The project embraces the power of images to capture stories of oppression and resistance, perseverance and resilience, freedom dreams, imagination, and joy within the United States and around the globe.

To view the photographs in this podcast, please view the video version which is available via the YouTube link at the top of this page.

Participants:

  • Bob Ahern | Director of Archive Photography for Getty Images
  • Dawn Chitty, (Ed.D.) | Director of Education at the African American Civil War Museum
  • Daniela Edmeier (Moderator) | Ph.D. Candidate History, Ohio State, and Managing Editor of Picturing Black History
  • Damarius Johnson | Ph.D. student History, Ohio State, and Associate Editor of Picturing Black History
  • James Morgan | Programming Consultant with the African American Civil War Museum

Cite this Site

Daniela Edmeier , "Picturing Black History" , Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective
March, 2022
https://origins.osu.edu/index.php/listen/history-talk/picturing-black-history?language_content_entity=en.
March, 2022

Transcript

Daniela Edmeier  
Hello everyone and welcome to picturing Black History Webinar today brought to you by Getty Images, Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, and the History Department and the College of Arts and Science at The Ohio State University. My name is Daniela Edmeier. I'm managing editor of the publication Picturing Black History and a PhD candidate in history at Ohio State. And I'm going to be your host and moderator today. So I would like to you know, express thanks to everyone who is attending here live and a special welcome to everyone joining us for Getty Images as well. Today we're going to be exploring an exciting new collaboration that marries powerful photographs and engaging stories to bring black history to life. Picturing Black History is a collaborative project between Getty Images and the magazine Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective. Picturing Black History emerged in the wake of national and international Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis Police officers in 2020. We recognize that Black Lives Matter is a contemporary outgrowth of a long history of black racial protests in the United States. Picturing Black History is our effort to contribute to an ongoing public dialogue on the significance of black history and black life in the United States and throughout the globe. We embrace the power of images to capture stories of oppression and resistance, perseverance and resilience, freedom, dreams, imagination and joy within the United States and around the globe. So with that introduction, let me lay out the plan for our webinar this afternoon. Each of our panelists will speak for a few minutes about Picturing Black History, exploring the amazing photographs and stories of black history. And I will introduce each speaker before they present their section. Then we will take your questions and we will open things up for discussion. If you're interested in asking a question, please write it in the Q&A function at the bottom of your screen at any time. We've received several questions in advance and we're going to do our best to answer as many questions as we can today. So to start, we are going to begin with Bob Ahern. Based in New York, Bob Ahern is the director of archive photography for Getty Images and has been with the company for 23 years. Bob is responsible for the archive's overarching content strategy, which includes overview of the archive's 135 million images and 4,000 contributing photographers. Through a team of senior editors who continue to digitize the analog collections, 1,000s of images are added each month to Getty Images' global offering of historic and defining cultural moments. And with that, I'm going to pass off to Bob, who's going to introduce us to Getty Images' side of this project and explore that for us.

Bob Ahern  
Thank you, Daniela. And thanks, everyone for joining today. There is a lot to get through in the next few minutes. So I will get straight to it, I promise. But first, I must say how thrilled Getty Images is to be working with the Ohio State team and the Origins team. Since we started collaborating last year, we have been so grateful for all the learnings that the team brings. So a heart felt thank you to Daniela to Damarius, Nick, Steve and David, Brionna and all the expertise that makes this project come alive. And likewise, sincere thanks to my many colleagues at Getty that have joined and supported the journey so far. So many of you may know Getty Images archive from a byline in your newspaper or platform of choice. But we are many things besides. We are one of the first places nearly a million customers around the world turn to for video, creative stills, up to the minute news, sport and entertainment coverage. We just wrapped up our coverage of the Beijing Paralympics, we will be covering the glitz and the glamour of the Oscars next Sunday. And we have news photographers on the ground in Ukraine. So we really are everywhere. But today I want to focus on our archive, and by that I mean historical photography. And Getty Images is very proud to be the custodians of the world's largest privately owned commercial archive. It's a big deal for us. And we take our obligations seriously. The Archives document all aspects of human life from the pivotal moments of history, right through to the triumphs, adversities and minutiae of everyday life. And in order to make that accessible, that history, we have multiple preservation facilities around the world, where we work with the original analog photograph, some 135 million of them to be well, fairly precise. And this is what that looks like. This is a photo of our London facility that houses 80 million of those prints and negatives and preserves almost every conceivable format of photography. Much of the archives are comprised from the press agencies of yesteryear, archives inherited from the so-called Golden Age of photojournalism. From the 1930s onwards, as both printing and camera technology evolved, it was these collections that serviced the huge explosion in demand for visual media. But we also go right back to the very birth of photography. In fact, one of our collections, the LSC collection, was operating in the 1850s, and is widely credited as being one of the first photo agencies ever to license a picture. But it's mind boggling as those stats and numbers can be. It is the people that work on site with this material that keeps Archive living and breathing. We have editors, researchers, production staff, as well as a rolling curatorial conservation program. That means we can continually curate our archives on a daily basis. Without that expertise, we would simply be custodians of 135 million pieces of plastic, paper, and glass. So the message I want to convey about our archive is that it never stands still. And much like the team at Origins, we work hard to demonstrate how sharing our visual pasts can allow our audiences to contextualize and understand the present. So we are constantly evolving our historical coverage and assessing how does it meet the moment. And of course, there was no more important time to do this than in the summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd. So as we look back at the historical coverage of those, sorry, excuse me, one second, there we are. So as we look back at the historical coverage that echoed those present events, we will find some of the most recognizable and powerful work that we may all know today. In particular, surveying the civil rights struggle in the 50s and 60s, we will find some of the photos that helped move the world, influenced the course of that history. Work from photographers such as Steve Shapiro, Flip Schulke and Charles Moore, prove that the power of photography to influence public opinion and help bring positive change. Flashback to Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, Charles Moore's shocking photographs of police brutality circulated around the world and galvanized support for the civil rights movement. According to former US Senator Jacob K. Javits, those pictures helped secure passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Photographs such as these can still be difficult to look at. This image on the right was taken 19... Sorry, the image on the right from the Bettmann Collection was taken on September 4, 1957. That was three years after the Supreme Court had ruled that the segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. But this was the first day of school for students of Little Rock, Arkansas. We see the remarkable composure of 15 year old student Elizabeth Eckford. She's in the foreground here, carrying her schoolbooks, being heckled and surrounded by anger and hate. And it's a moment captured only as photography can do. It as visceral as it is shocking as the day it was taken. But much as photography can be used to document division or conflict, it can also be used to unite and help us understand. And actually there is a fascinating postscript to this image, about  how it ended up bringing some of the subjects to something of a reconciliation. But underneath this layer of very recognizable photography, there are often gaps in the visual record, the photos that help us really understand the complexities of daily life that explore beyond the headlines. The archives of daily life or black daily life, of community, sidelined figures in history, narratives, maybe we never learned about school, and importantly, photographs taken by photographers who are part of that community. And our ambition is to both uncover and better service content that has traditionally been underrepresented. And we can do this in a number of ways. First, we can revisit our own analog collections. Just 1% of our analog holdings are digitized. So that gives us a huge opportunity to revisit those files with an edit, with a contemporary agenda, and seek out content that may be overlooked for decades. And photo editors can do this, thanks to the original finding aids, index cards, original daybooks, or the analog tools that we still use to provide cataloguing of this content. It's a real excavation. But we also acknowledge that no matter how methodically we research our own archives for content we would like to see more of, it simply may not be there. After all, the dominant paradigm of white-owned mainstream media and news coverage in the 20th century, and even though many magazines photo output will be held to high journalistic account, it did not typically leave behind a diverse footprint. So in seeking a more inclusive visual history, we look to partner and collaborate with other archives where black voices and black photographers are central. One such partnership is with the Carnegie Museum of Art to preserve the incredible Teenie Harris collection. Charles Teenie Harris was the preeminent photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier and one of America's most prominent black newspapers. He was photographing Pittsburgh's African American community from 1935 to 1975. And what you get from Harris's archive is the view from a photographer who was trusted by his own community, documenting that community. So he will see a more nuanced and longer form body of work and offer more positive and authentic representation of black life and culture, totally independent of a white lens. And most recently, we were thrilled to award half a million dollars grant to four historic black colleges. Actually, today is the very first day that we're on site, at Jackson State to initiate that digitization, and the grants will be used to digitize over 100,000 new photographs relating to HBCU life and black history and culture. So we really have some exciting times ahead. And alongside that work undertaken in the analog world, we've also been working with external consultants and experts to help digitally curate our content to ensure that we navigate this path with thoughtfulness and care. We are learning. We are listening. And as part of this approach later this year, we will be offering a collection of roughly 25,000 digital images that explore black history and culture and will be made available for free and for non-commercial use. And lastly, I want to leave you with some fascinating research carried out by my rather brilliant colleagues in our creative insights division. One of the many things that they do is to find out and also predict how the world at large interacts and consumes photography. And here's what they found. Data shows that nearly half of Americans believe in the importance of learning black history. The top three sources by which Americans learn about black history and culture are cited as documentaries, news media, and in elementary and secondary schools. So if I may recall the earliest statistic that Getty Images has nearly 1 billion customers around the world, and that includes just about every media outlet on the planet, as well as documentary makers, production houses, corporate and agency customers are all looking to make an impact. If you pair that together with Ohio's extraordinary work in the educational curriculum space, we have a very urgent but long term and sustainable opportunity to influence the conversation, surfacing, inclusive histories that can positively influence the world at large. And that's why we are excited about the project Picturing Black History, which seeks to do just that. And with that, thank you very much indeed for listening and I'll hand you back to Daniela. Thank you Daniela.

Daniela Edmeier  
Great, thank you so much, Bob. That was really fascinating to get a look behind the scene of what's going on in the archives and how, you know, photographers and photographs are gathered. So our next panelist is Damarius Johnson. Damarius Johnson is associate editor of Picturing Black History. He's also a doctoral student in the Department of History at The Ohio State University. His research interests include histories of civil rights and Black Power, African decolonization, and museum studies. So with that, I will hand it over to Damarius, who will talk to us about Black history, his research, and his writing for Picturing Black History.

Damarius Johnson  
Well, thank you, Daniela. And I'm glad to join you all this afternoon. So we'll get started. I think a fitting place to start in thinking about black history and specifically about this project is with the name the image of Carter Godwin Woodson pictured here. He had been known by his contemporaries as the father of black history. And it's just important to review a few aspects of his long and fruitful contribution to black history and to American history, to kind of frame and understand the trajectory of this project. So Woodson was born 1875 in Buckingham County, Virginia. He was a son of two formerly enslaved coal miners, and in his early years, he was literate. So you often read the newspaper to his father, and to fellow farmhands, and local residents. He would later attend and complete his bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago in 1907. In 1908, he attended the Sorbonne in Paris. And then in 1912, he was the second African American to receive a PhD from Harvard after W.E.B. DuBois, in the department of history. More specific to this project, in 1915, he started the Association for the Study of African American Latin history, which is today known as ASALH. And, in 1926, "Asalah," also kind of colloquial name for ASLAH, tarted the celebration of Negro History Week, which fell the week in February between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In the late 1960s, [Negro History Week] became today known as Black History Month as a result of student activism in the late 1960s expanded the week from a month, to a month of celebration of African American History. And what's important to note about Woodson's work is that his main impetuous and motivation for establishing Negro History Week was to counter a lot of the stereotypical images and the historical bias of the American historical curriculum. And so in trying to achieve that goal, he really became active as an advocate and exponent of black history in multiple spaces and academic spaces and public spaces. In really in a community celebration, Negro History Week, which became Black History Month, which is also important to recognize about Woodson, that Negro History Week is a celebration of an entire community and is not about a great man. But it's about his relationship to great people who produce them, to great people that he sought to document and write about, and circulate the histories into the generations of great people that will sustain his work in black communities and in the broader American public from 1926 to our present day. So another image, this image is taken from 1963. This is an image captured in Kenya in 1963. On the left, we have Jomo Kenyatta. Kenyatta was prime minister and first president of independent Kenya. Kenya gained its independence in 1963. We also have this image to his right, to the right of Kenyatta, is Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall is known for his significant contribution to African American history as one of the lawyers who led the charge in Brown versus Board of Education in 1954. And of course, as the first African American Supreme Court justice in 1967. What ties them together, is in 1960, a few years before this picture is taken. Thurgood Marshall is important for being involved in a series of conventions that would establish the constitution of independent Kenya. He was involved in a series of meetings called the Lancaster House Conferences. There were three meetings, he drafted a Kenyan Bill of Rights. And he was really integral for thinking about what Kenyan independence might look like in 1960. And then in 1963, when it's achieved, he's very prominent for thinking about how the specific forms of African independence, what some specific forms of government that would take. And so Kenyatta is a beneficiary of that spadework that is done by Thurgood Marshall. This picture is also interesting to me because there are not many images of Thurgood Marshall laughing. So I also wonder what is happening at this specific meeting, too, they both seem to be having a good time.

So the next image that I wanted to focus on is from 1984. This is from a press conference at the White House. This is President Reagan unveiling a postage stamp that honors the name of Carter G. Woodson. Now 1984 is, of course, an election year. So there's some political posturing here in terms of why Woodson might be recognized during the election year. And of course, in the kind of backdrop of that there's the Jesse Jackson presidential run. And so Reagan is certainly aware of the kind of political climate that he's operating in. But what's also significant is the kind of the backdrop of folks which are a little bit difficult to see here. And some of the individuals standing behind Reagan, those are the folks who organized to achieve this public recognition of Woodson by an American president. And some of the members standing behind Reagan are actually members of a national committee that gathered to think about the first visit, there's a National Center for the Study of African American History and Culture. There's a museum that's actually founded about an hour and a half away from Columbus, in Wilberforce, Ohio, some of the members of that committee, which founded that museum in Wilberforce, that honors African American History and Culture. This Wilberforce museum was the first national museum that was granted federal funding to tell a national story of African American History. And so these folks that are pictured behind Reagan, that advocated for Woodson's prominence at this press conference, on this national stamp, are also involved in other ways of circulating Black History across the United States, of gathering the American public to think and engage with African American history. And also institution builders, which Woodson was as well. So these are folks in that long line, from Woodson to the present, which have also thought about how to teach and learn about black history in public spaces outside of the university, which is another significant theme of African American history. So it's important to recognize that in this moment, 1984, Carter G. Woodson in Black History Month, attains a certain kind of official recognition from President Reagan, but also to recognize the kind of grassroots organizing and community work that sustain the holiday is what achieves that official presidential recognition and what is the kind of underlying energy that sustains the holiday today.

So the last image I wanted to talk about is actually from 1980. This is just a community gathering in 1980, and I'm not sure if it happens in February. I couldn't tell from the photo credit. But this is a community gathering in 1980. And what we see pictured here is a bookseller and some patrons at a black community event in 1980. And I think that this is a very important representation of what Black History Month represents, in that this is a community event. This is about teaching and learning. And this is also about the circulation of the Black dollar within the Black community, as these folks will purchase products from this bookseller, and that revenue that they generate, and the relationships that they have, allow for kind of circulation of black money through the black community. That's also an important aspect of this image in what this represents. We see pictured in the kind of backdrop behind the bookseller, this is a zoomed in version of that, we see a poster that reads, or some words that read, Black history and liberation, which again, reiterates another point which Woodson understood in creating the idea of a community celebration for Black history, which is that African American history in the United States is always taught in the face of political opposition, and that the significance of this history is to center the histories of race in American history, and so that the United States history curriculum can come to terms with histories of race, but also for African American people, for people of African descent in the broader world, black history is important for thinking about liberation, and what liberation can look like, what resistance to opposition can look like, what kinds of legacies and achievements have been part of that broad chronicle of black history, which is, in fact about African American history, and the community, broader international communities of African people. And another example of that is the poster underneath, which is torn, reads March 2, Day of Angolan women. And this is important, again, for drawing out the relationship between African Americans and African history. In thinking about Black History Month and gathering to think about and study Black history, is inseparable from Africa, is inseparable from African resistance struggles. And that is pictured in 1963. But it's also pictured in 1980. And that is also part of the contemporary work of black history and black political movements and thinking about the ways that Black Lives Matter could be seen as an example, a riff on that theme of the kind of global ways that people of African descent find community with each other, and then use that broad sense of community to challenge the particular political circumstances in which they find themselves. And that is part of the plan, a broad contribution of Woodson in terms of foregrounding this work and this history in what it means to black communities. And so, I just wanted to feature some of those images and thank you for your time.

Daniela Edmeier  
Great, thank you so much, Damarius; that was really enlightening. We are going to move on to our next speaker, who is Dawn Chitty. Dawn Chitty is the Director of Education at the African American Civil War Museum where she has worked since 2010. She holds a doctorate in education in which she focused her research on the topics of museum curriculum and pedagogy about slavery and abolition in the United States and the importance of historical memory and its connection to inclusive pedagogy, which she will be discussing with us here today. So Dawn, I will pass it on to you.

Dawn Chitty  
Thank you, Daniela. Probably one of the most important requests I get from researchers and the general public at the museum where I work is one for pictures. With the Civil War, it's very novel and new. So this is like one of the first wars where we have like, so many images. Pictures capture moments in a way that documents can't. So it's really neat to see them for the Civil War time period. We can tell a lot from them that we can't tell from just looking at documents. For example, just looking at Lincoln, we can tell the physical toll of being president during the American Civil War that it had on him just by looking at pictures of him before the war and during the war. But unlike with documents, context is hard to pick up with just images, which is one of the reasons why I like the Picturing Black History Project. Having the opportunity to build a story with the photos helps people to understand events or historical figures better. I've done two articles, the first of which was "Learning in Secret Places," which is about Susie King Taylor. So you're looking at an image of Susie King Taylor, which was taken in the late 1800s. This is well after the war. This is almost like the turn of the century for her, but she was 14 years old when she gained her freedom and she became a nurse and started to teach black soldiers how to read and write. Education for enslaved people was an accomplishment, one that could earn you the strictest of punishments before the war and in the early part of the war as well. Susie King Taylor learn to read and write in a secret school. Education was not promoted amongst blacks, free or enslaved, because the ability to read and write contradicted the idea of blacks being intellectually inferior, and revealed ideas of human equality that might encourage rebellion. So she learned to read and write in a secret school in Savannah, Georgia. The experiences of learning to read and write she carried with her when she gained her freedom, and to the camps teaching soldiers how to read and write. And those experiences of learning to read and write and also teaching, led her down the path of establishing not just one, but a few private schools for blacks after the war. The last, this image is an image of a school in Edisto, South Carolina. And the next image is a similar image of a school in the south. And this was something that you would have seen at the later part of the war. Well into the 20th century, these schools popping up after freedom came because that's one of the things that blacks did, was seek to be educated, and it was legal to do so. So Susie King Taylor, writing this article was important to me, because it was a way to show how blacks educated themselves and their communities throughout the 19th century, but also as an educator, I admire Taylor's teacher spirit. The next article I wrote was "At War with Memory." I was influenced by my conversations with the public and about Civil War monuments and historic memory. I realized that the legacy of the Civil War was different depending on the person you were talking to. And the monumental landscape reflects the dominant voice in society at the time. So in the early 1900s, you see a lot of monuments to the Confederacy that go up but they don't necessarily outnumber monuments to the Union, they just get more notice. The first image that you're looking at is the Confederate monument on Stone Mountain in Georgia. This monument is about 60 feet high, and it's carved in the face of a mountain, and features three prominent Confederate figures: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. Although not the largest monument, or even the oldest to the Confederacy, it's notable, and it influences the narrative of the Civil War and is located on a site that is heavy with racial meaning. The site was chosen for this memorial because it was the site where the Ku Klux Klan had its revival in 1915. The next picture is the anniversary shot from the Battle of Gettysburg. If you look through a lot of the pictures from the anniversary of the Civil War, this is the 50th anniversary of the Civil War, and even the anniversary for the Battle of Gettysburg, you'll notice that there are few blacks in these images, even though blacks were in a huge number, serving as soldiers during the Civil War.

The theme of the anniversary was uniting the blue and the gray. Blacks were not a part of that reunification. Black soldiers made up 200,000 soldiers for the Union. And by the war's end, their valuable contributions towards preserving the union of the United States and ending slavery was noted, but became a distant memory. So I only was able to include one image of a soldier in my article, but I'm able to share with you two images. So soldiers took a lot of images, it was like I said, it was a novelty. So you'll find that there's a lot of soldier images from the time period, most of which are unidentified, because of course, even though it was a novelty and free to take a picture, it was not free to take the picture with you. So a lot of times you have photographers that are going through and you have these studios, where they're taking pictures, and they have these copies of these images that make their way into repositories like Getty Images, or the Library of Congress, etc. So this is one image of, you know, a soldier that served during the Civil War. And here's another one. So this is basically what the soldiers would have looked like. When we think about blacks in the collective history of the Civil War, it says an enslaved person and not people who endured the yoke of slavery and played a part in emancipating themselves. These two soldiers here are, in all likelihood, they were enslaved at the start of the war. Their fight was one of freedom first and union second. For many, the war carries the legacy of emancipation. Four million blacks gained their freedom, the memorials show how the legacy of the war was expressed. I was unable to add in my article, an image of Lincoln emancipation statue, which I thought it was in here, but it's not. Lincoln emancipation statue. Because it's a controversial image that shows, basically, a freedmen who was kneeling at Lincoln's feet. The statue was paid for by blacks, but they didn't get a say in the design, so it doesn't necessarily represent the expression of their remembrance of the war. These last two images are of the African American Civil War Memorial. The first one shows a group around the memorial. Likely some of these individuals were descendants of the soldiers that are listed at this memorial. And the second one just shows the memorial by itself. The Civil War was important in defining the course of the nation, what kind of country we would have, but its memory can determine if those hard lessons that we fought over during the Civil War would be lasting. Memorials are a tangible piece of the past that give a roadmap to how something should be taught to generations, to future generations, and speak to our shared past. These two articles, for me, are about perspective. There are different viewpoints to the past, depending on the person. It doesn't necessarily change the facts, but it affects our understanding of the facts, and how they impact us today. Black history is important because it represents an often marginalized viewpoint, that when we overlook it, we overlook the contributions of many Americans to help build and shape the nation. Thank you. 

Daniela Edmeier  
Thank you so much Dawn, like Damarius, that was a excellent exploration of underappreciated aspects of history and the importance of black history and education in the United States. So last, but not least, let me introduce to you our final panelist for today, James Morgan. James Morgan is a programming consultant with the African American Civil War Museum and a graduate student at Morgan State University, and the author of The Lost Empire: Black Freemasonry in the Old West 1867-1906. So with that, I will pass it off to James.

James Morgan  
Thank you so much, Daniela. I don't know how I can follow up such dynamic speakers. I also want to acknowledge my good friend Damarius Johnson. Before going to Morgan State, and before you all took him up there in Ohio, he and I both attended Howard University together. And I can say for myself that my experience, now being a two time HBCU student graduate, and also do instruction here as well, influenced me quite a bit when I first learned about this project. And one of my interests, like many people in history, is genealogy. Today, I'm not going to speak about family history, but I do want us to think about the intellectual history of black liberation efforts through time and through space. And so, in order to do that, we had to use a starting point and for me, as far as this project goes, I want to start with Martin Delany. The title of my submission is, "Martin Delany: Unapologetic African." And the reason why I chose that title was because Delany was known for being very, very proud of his African heritage. Martin Delany's family history is one that is very important. Matter of fact, I'm going to go back in history for just a second. We're going to talk about his family history very briefly. If you ever get a copy of Martin Delany's autobiography, the first chapter is entitled genealogy. And what he lays out is that his grandparents, particularly on his mother's side, were Africans who were brought over to United States and were freed. A similar story happened on his father's side as well. The interesting thing that happens on his mother's side, though, is that according to Delany, his maternal grandparents were adults who were already married to each other in Africa, and then captured and brought to the United States together. And so from an institutional perspective, marriage is important marker for human life, right because we understand that they must have been of a certain age, at a certain stage of history, culture, lives, etc., because they would have been a proper age. According to their people, and according to Delany they came from somewhere around Nigeria. Now Delany himself is born free. When he was a child his mother was was free. His father was still enslaved. Fortunately, his father was able to gain his freedom during Delany's childhood. The family actually has to move from what is now West Virginia, but at the  time was still a part of the state of Virginia. They move into Pennsylvania and Delany, as he grows, learns to read. Matter of fact, the fact that he and his siblings were learning to read is the reason why the family had to relocate.

As he matures, Delany goes into becoming a physician's assistant at the time leaching and cupping were very common medical practices and Delany became a specialist at this. Martin Delany actually becomes one of the first men of African descent admitted to Harvard University's School of Medicine. However, after a few short weeks, they are all dismissed because of the outrage of a number of white students and faculty who actually write to the president and to the administration of they school, saying they wanted them all put out. Okay, one of the one of the things that often gets left out of that story, is one of the kind of tipping points, you had Delany and two other men of African descent who were in the program. But then Harvard was thinking about admitting a woman and that was the straw that broke the camel's back, if you will. Now moving forward. Delany is very well known, during this period as a publisher. He starts his own newspaper called The Mystery. He also becomes very active in both the African Methodist Episcopal Church as well as Prince Hall Freemasonry as well. Delany is well known for being outspoken about his pride and African history and heritage, which is something that is really, really ahead of its time during his his lifetime, during the 19th century. It was very famously said by Frederick Douglass, that Douglass himself said that he woke up every day, proud that God had made him a man, but Martin Delany woke up proud that God had made him a black man. And this held true. The two of them worked together on the newspaper the Northstar as well. And during the lead up to the Civil War, Delany actually goes to Africa. He travels there with a man by the name of Robert Campbell. He stopped in Liberia, then Nigeria, looking for land for hopefully to allow for African Americans to resettle back in their native homeland. But then the Civil War... he actually does meet with some success, but then the Civil War kicks off, and he comes back to the United States. Now this photograph that we have here, this tintype, is of Delany actually in uniform. There are several images of Delany which we can talk about, but I chose this one specifically, because there was a major issue at the time. And I think this is probably a discussion that we can have with our friends at Getty Images, about how cameras, the science of cameras and lenses, really was not always complimentary, up really up until the modern day, of people with darker skin tones. And so Delany is taking this picture to show his bold blackness as well as how astute he is in his military uniform or what have you. This was something that in and of itself, was a sign of protest, in my view, and the fact that he's not cowering, what have you, but he's looking as a respectful human being who's proud of how he appears and presents himself in the world.

Now, for me, this is... This is the original voice that we see echoed a generation or two later, with the rise of this man here, Marcus Garvey, who, in many ways, is kind of a second coming, if you will, of the philosophy of Martin Delany. Garvey is known for being the founder of the Univesal Negro Improvement Association, an African communities league, originally from Jamaica. And initially, what Garvey wants to do is to establish a school similar to Tuskegee Institute, in his native Jamaica. He decides to do this after he travels around the Caribbean, goes to Panama, and Garvey famously states that everywhere he traveled, he saw black people being oppressed. And he wondered, where were their men of big affairs, where were their men of big business and politics, what have you. And since he said he could not find them, he would make them, he would craft them himself. And so he organizes what is known to be the largest single organization of black people in modern recorded history. And when he comes to Harlem, New York, his movement sparks a wildfire. There are chapters of the UNIACL established throughout the United States, the rest of the Americas, even going over to Africa and the Caribbean, as well. One of the things I think is interesting about Garvey, and you see him oftentimes depicted in this kind of military chivalric type of almost fraternal uniforms, is that in some ways, you can kind of see the echo of Delany as one of the first Black Civil War officers, having served as a major. And Garvey himself did state that Delany was one of his biggest influences. And you can kind of see that even visually. And then one last thing about Marcus Garvey, is that Garvey is also famous for crafting the red, black, and green flag, the black liberation flag, which is often used, even down to today, with even now to today's Black Lives Matter protests. Garvey himself said that, you know, that you could look for him in the whirlwind. It  was one of his most famous statements when he was being oppressed and arrested by the federal authorities. And for me, when I think about that quote, and I think about the turmoil that this nation and the world has been in concerning issues of race, and other forms of oppression. I, when I first saw this image, it made me think immediately of that voice, that echo, that starts with Martin Delany, or Susie King Taylor, passes through Garvey and ends up down to you and I today, and produces a project like Picturing Black History. And I think it's important that we recognize that when we see these type of protests, whether they are marching in the streets, whether it's debates in courtrooms, or what have you, that we recognize that historical echo that started so long ago, and that we continue to have a conversation. So in closing, I would just say I'm very proud to be a part of this project, and to be working with you all to continue the conversation. Thank you.

Daniela Edmeier  
Thank you so much, James. And thank you so much to the rest of our panelists for those fascinating discussions on black history and photography, and, and you know, being able to share this exciting introduction to Picturing Black History to our audience here. So now we'd like to open the floor to anyone in the audience who'd like to ask a question. If you haven't already, use the Q&A function at the bottom of your screen. If you have a question or comment for our panelists, please type it in there. And we'll do our best to answer as many questions as we can. So to start off, we have a few specific questions that I'm going to direct towards you, Bob. A couple of questions came in asking specifically about Getty's archive collection. So what is the oldest date in photos at Getty, and what is the date of the oldest photo in the Getty Images collection on black history in the US. And it's specifically thinking about the collection in terms of photography as a relatively recent medium, but also the kind of exclosure or maybe that's not the right word, but the kind of the lack of focus on on documenting black life and how that relates to the kind of the history and collection at Getty Images.

Bob Ahern  
It's, it's a great question, and it can get a bit of a moveable feast in terms of when we started to date photography. From the very early days. I mean, we've nearly had 200 years of photography, it seems incredibly simple to think about it. But it is still very, still very young. We have daguerreotypes that stretch back to sort of 1839-1840. So really, you know, only a decade or so after the real pioneers, were starting to make those photographs. And that's by Fox Talbot, you know, some of the real pioneers of photography. We keep a lot of that in our vintage room, we have a kind of a special place at the London archive where we try and extract more valuable or more unique photography out from the working files to preserve for future generations. In terms of black life in the US, that's trickier. I need to do a little bit more research on that. Obviously, we saw some of those depictions of soldiers, that Dawn was highlighting and they're from obviously around 1840s-1850s. But again, it can be it becomes difficult to date sometimes. You can look at the process, whether it's a tintype or daguerreotype, you can start to make assumptions about where they were. But in terms of collections, we do represent a collection in the Afro-newspaper collection, which is one of America's oldest black newspapers, and it's still going obviously, it's still in circulation, and they date back, oh gosh,  128 years I think. In terms of that history, and that would be more of daily life, in terms of you know, covering its agenda at the time rather than rather than tintypes and portraits of that nature. But yeah, I hope that helps you.

Daniela Edmeier  
Yeah, it's fantastic. And as far as you know, expanding the collection and a focus on those unseen moments in history and daily life. Things of that nature. Can you speak about what else we might expect from the HBCU project in the future?

Bob Ahern  
Yeah,  that's gonna be a big one. And I think I mentioned, you know, the first thing that we had many months of collaborating with the photo archivists at Jackson State, Prairie View, North Carolina Central, amazing, amazing teams that are working, you know, with their archives, and there's so many stories to uncover. There's so many photographers and by lines, whether we're talking about Mr. Cecil Williams, or the Teal Portrait Studio, names that are kind of new, are going to be new to some folks. And it's going to be exciting to see what we can pull out of that. So 100,000 images, the photo archivists at the HBCUs know their content. And it's about bringing it to the rest of the world and having more imagery to look at and to explore. And as I think Dawn so very eloquently put, you know, it's about slowing down with photography. And it's about using a single picture to help decode so much, there's so many pivots, you get out of a single picture, there's so much history contained in that. So it's not all about a numbers game. In fact, it's almost the opposite as we really think about and slow down and approach photography in a more considered way. And I've just been knocked out by what the authors have contributed so far, just using single pictures. It's an incredible reminder.

Daniela Edmeier  
Great, thank you so much. So Dawn, we have a question for you. Specifically, I think, relating to your "Learning in Secret Places" piece. So an audience member asked what did it mean to have private black schools? Does that mean what it means today, i.e., privileged, I am assuming in terms of, you know, paying for private education and that nature?

Dawn Chitty  
Well, some of the schools were, did carry a cost to them. But keep in mind that during this time period, there were not that many metropolitan areas that had public school. So public schools are just basically very new. In fact, actually, Susie King Taylor established her schools because there were no private schools in her area. So she was seeking to offer education where there was no opportunity for that, in the community in which she lived in. Which is one of the reasons why a lot of private schools kind of like popped up during that time period. And there's even people today into, like, they were born in the early 1900s, going through the 1920s. They went to private schools, my own grandmother went to a private school, not because there was like, you know, a privilege thing attached to it, because that was the only school that was available to them. Susie's schools went out of business because the private schools did make their way into her area. And there was a competition between her schools, there was a price attached to it. And the public school, there wasn't one. So it wasn't necessarily privileged, but more of access. 

Daniela Edmeier  
Great, thank you so much for answering that question. So now we're going to turn to a larger question. And I will direct this to Damarius first and then James, if you'd like to speak after Damarius, because you kind of ended on these similar themes at the end. I think that'd be great. So what are the ways in which photography can help bring history to life and help people understand the past and are photographs especially important to understanding black history?

Damarius Johnson  
Yes, I think that photographs are very important just for capturing moments in motion, but also for thinking about what individuals come to represent. And I think that that's thinking about representation, thinking about the kinds of people that get photographed, and in the movements that they're connected to, and how folks, you know, thinking about the Thurgood Marshall image, for example, what that comes to mean about African American civil rights history, about civil rights in the United States, and how it's connected to these broader conversations. That's a theme that you can talk about, because you see it pictured in the image. I think what pictures allow for you to unpack and talk about in terms of connections is really very important because people that are asking to send around the world are often connected with each other and one of the ways to demonstrate or illustrate that is through photographs.

James Morgan  
Yeah, I agree with Damarius. I think that we have to be mindful that every day each of us gets up out of bed or off the couch or what have you, and we get dressed and we go out and present ourselves to the world. Each one of us on this panel has done so today or some of us maybe home what have you. When I wear this shirt, I want to communicate something, you know. Daniela, I noticed your hair is different than last time I spoke to you. You want to communicate something in In your style of dress and what have you. The photo in back of me, that's actually a family photo from my own family. They were trying to communicate something through that style of dress and what have you. And I think that that's part of the beauty of photography, as Damarius is saying, is to show an honest depiction of what is it that the people are trying to communicate? You're talking about a time period, and I think Frederick Douglass was a master at this, being one most photographed people of the 19th century. Your  talking about a time period where, let's not forget, before photography comes into existence, the main visual medium is art, people are drawing and painting and what have you. And African people are not being portrayed realistically, not being portrayed in a distinguished manner. They're being portrayed as subhuman, right, with these huge lips. And, you know, all these things. They are being portrayed as caricatures, even down in the history of animation, really down into the 20th century. So photography, and later video, gives these people the ability to control their own image and representation all the way down to the present. So yes, I think it's very important.

Daniela Edmeier  
Great, thank you so much, James and Marius for answering that very broad, but you know, well put answer to that broad question, Bob, so I have a few more questions for you about kind of the behind the scenes at Getty Images. So a two part question here for you. Since Getty Images is the largest archive of images, and is instrumental in the archival and expansion of digital images, what role is Getty playing in improving more color hue, correct images of people of color, particularly those of much darker hues, since photography, photo technology wasn't really designed to properly capture those darker hues. And then a follow up question. How did these images even make it into the archive? Some of them are older than Getty itself. [I'm] interested to know the process of how the images were acquired.

Bob Ahern  
Great questions, Kobe. That's a complex question, actually, in terms of color correcting, and hue and darker hues. I don't think it's something we've necessarily considered en mass. Look, I think one, one of the challenges and complexities of presenting archives back to the world is how much do you, how much do you keep intact the historical integrity, for better or worse, of that image? And how much do you intervene with that image and change that historical object? As an archive in the commercial space, we don't or we try and do both, in fact. And so if we look at captions, I think of these captions as an example, if we, if we pull a image out of the Bettmann Collection, for instance, and we look at the original caption from 1963, it may well use language that we're not comfortable with using today, we're not going to use languages legacy historical language, right. So we try and update that caption to bring it in line with contemporary thinking. But we also keep that caption, because it's important that researchers going back to that image can see how that that record of history was recorded at the time. So I don't know of any endeavor to do that. But I'm going to take it back and and see what we can do. In terms of where those images come from. We do we go right back to the birth of photography, it's a long, long chain of ownership or people buying defunct archives, and then a chain of acquisition. So we can trace our roots back to the London Stereoscopic Company, for instance, that was then sold to the BBC, who inherited a magazine collection called Picture Post. And then a library started to build around amassing a lot of pictures, a physical library was constructed, and catalogued. A whole new cataloging system was brought in to make sense of all these photographs. And over time, companies like the BBC that own these archives would acquire or they would have images donated to them, right. Back in the day, people were very happy to donate images to something like the BBC, because it was seen as a wonderful place to store their heritage. And then if you move up into the 80s, we added, or a cable entrepreneurial Brian Deutsch, added huge collections, press agencies like the Keystone collection or the Evening Standard newspaper collections. And in through the 90s we made a couple of acquisitions. But we don't typically buy archives, we very much now are about partnering with photographers and partnering with other archives. And it's really about getting those on the platform to share that to a global audience. But yeah, it's a long lineage of how these these photographs make their way into it. And it's why we're very careful about the obligation to care for them. Does that answer your question?

Daniela Edmeier  
Great. Thank you, Bob. So we have time for one more question, which I'm going to direct towards the panelists. And that can start with you, Dawn, and then James, and then we'll finish with Damarius. So an audience member asks, will any of you be involved in future articles for this project? If so, what subjects would you like to explore, and I guess, as the moderator and tack on understanding that sometimes the archive itself limits the essays that authors would like to write. So I guess, an essay, they if you have any topics that you'd like to explore in the future, I guess, regardless of photo availability, or hoping fingers crossed, that there's photo availability. 

Dawn Chitty  
Well, hoping that there is some photo availability, I would like to work on something that is related to Sojourner Truth. Mainly because there's, you know, a lot of like, I'm gonna say she's misrepresented. She's very heavily photographed, because she sold a lot of her photographs. But her words are, like very heavily misrepresented in history. So she's like, largely a mysterious figure because of that. I also wanted to do something on African American female nurses coming from the Civil War on forward, mainly because everybody forgets about the fact that African American women were serving in the military as nurses during the Civil War. And they just pick up with World War Two. So I wanted to kind of see what we could do with that.

James Morgan  
For me, yes, I have something somewhat similar for Dawn's, in many ways. Which is I'm working on a piece about Harriet Tubman. But I would focus on her growth from a girl to a woman like that kind of thing to think about how her femininity kind of has been downplayed in many ways. But if you're looking at the photo correctly, I think you can also see it through time and space. And so that's what I'm doing. And I also wanted to touch on the growth and expansion of African American businesses, particularly ones that kind of focus on servicing the African American community like barbershops and what have you. That's something else that I'm also looking forward to exploring as well. Was it what was the other part of the question? Did I capture it?

Daniela Edmeier  
You got it. Damarius, is there any, any would be fantasy pieces that you'd like to write in the future?

Damarius Johnson  
Sure, I will just quickly say anything about black internationalism, particularly in Europe, in London, I'd like to explore that as well. 

Daniela Edmeier  
Great, awesome, thank you so much. Well, we've reached the end of our hour here. So I'd like to thank you all very much for joining us today and for your excellent questions. I am grateful to Bob Ahern, Damarius Johnson, Dawn Chitty, and James Morgan for sharing their expertise and passion for history. Special thanks to everyone at Getty Images whose generosity and very hard work has made the Picturing Black History project possible. So I'd like to ask everyone to please join me in giving them a virtual round of applause. I'd also like to thank the College of Arts and Sciences, especially Jade Lac and Maddy Kurma for setting up this webinar today. And if you'd like to see the articles that our authors discussed today, please visit our website at picturingblackhistory.org. Stay safe and healthy and see you next time. Thank you, everyone.
 

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