Last year, Emory University had acquired a collection of approximately 12,000 photographs from long-time collector Robert Langmuir. These images have garnered much attention, as the majority of the pictures are rare depictions of the everyday lives of Black families between the 1800s and the 1960s. The Robert Langmuir African American Photo Collection is scheduled to be open to public viewing beginning mid-July.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Rosalind Bentley
Sunday, July 8, 2012
“‘This is like throwing the garage door open to African American life,’ said Kevin Young, a curator of literary collections at Emory and National Book Award finalist. ‘Of course there are photos of Frederick Douglass, Sojouner Truth, Father Divine, Martin Luther King and others in here. But what I love is the dailiness of it. For the most part these are regular folks who fixed up and went to the photographer to have their picture made. Or they just took pictures of themselves in their back yards, or at a night club, or a party, or going to work. It’s not just a little bit about a few famous people. And it’s a transformative collection for Emory because it is comprehensive.’”
“‘Seeing them all at once like I did — and I really only got to see a little bit of them — it’s like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant,’ said Arnika Dawkins, owner and curator of the Arnika Dawkins Gallery in Southwest Atlanta, perhaps the only fine art gallery in town that specializes only in photographs taken by or depicting African Americans. ‘It was overwhelming. But it also gave me a glimpse into a world I wasn’t around to see.’”
“‘Because race is so overwhelming, even today, there is still a cultural divide,’ [Curator Randall] Burkett said. ‘And in many instances, white folks still don’t know who black folks are. These pictures show the rich cultural, social and organizational life of African Americans, where African Americans are representing themselves as they wanted to be seen and how they saw themselves.’”
The full article, along with information on where and when this collection is available to the public, can be found here: http://bit.ly/PMDWqj.