Separate, But Equal: Images from the Segregated South

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9781586482367: Separate, But Equal: Images from the Segregated South
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As the nation reflects on the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling against "separate, but equal," this remarkable book of photographs reveals the realities of segregated life for urban blacks in the South.

Henry Clay Anderson established Anderson Photo Service in Greenville, Mississippi in 1948. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, he photographed this relatively prosperous black community, recording the daily lives of the men and women who built the schools, churches, and hospitals that served their segregated society. His photographs of subjects ranging from family gatherings to nightclub musicians have strong political overtones.

In his accompanying essay, writer Clifton Taulbert guides us through the photographs, recalling his own memories of Greenville. The book also contains an interview with the late photographer and an essay on the political climate at the time. Together, these materials create a window into a world that has been overlooked in the aftermath of the civil rights movement—a community of prosperous, optimistic black Southerners who considered themselves first-class Americans despite living in a deeply segregated world.

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About the Author:

Henry Clay Anderson (1911-1998) studied photography on the G. I. Bill and ran Anderson Photo Service. A lifelong activist for social change, he recorded every aspect of life in Greenville until his death in 1998. Clifton Taulbert is the author of eight books, including Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored. Shawn Wilson, who discovered the trove of Anderson photographs, is creating a documentary film on Greenville, where he was born and raised.

From Publishers Weekly:

"I received my first camera when I was about nine years old," Anderson writes in one of the five essays accompanying this collection of his work. "I tried to catch pictures of people, cats, trees, houses, whatever was interesting to me as a little boy." After studying photography on the GI Bill, Anderson opened a studio in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1948. This slim volume presents 130 or so straightforward but affecting photos of a conservative, respectable, and separate African-American world during the Jim Crow years. Anderson documents children in their Sunday best, a postman, a majorette, a white-frocked girl posing next to a birthday cake with six candles, teenaged bathing beauties parading in front of a crowd, a group shot of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels ("The Greatest Colored Show on Earth") and weddings and funerals. The pictures show a way of life that, for obvious reasons, will not inspire nostalgia, but which certainly had its share of dignity and beauty. And to young would-be photographers, Anderson advised: "Try to show not the picture only, but show the person who had the ambition. And if he's showing it, he shows himself."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9781586480929: Separate, But Equal: The Mississippi Photographs of Henry Clay Anderson

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