As a magazine editor, I always portrayed the faces and features of colored folk. One cannot realize today how rare it was in 1910. . . . In many great periodicals, it was the standing rule that no Negro portrait was to appear and that rule still holds in some American periodicals.
W. E. B. Du Bois

One important means of improving African American morale in the face of degrading stereotypes was the celebration of black humanity, beauty, individuality, and achievement exemplified in portraiture. With The Crisis, African American portrait photographs became a fixture in the Negro press, some also making their way into mainstream magazines and newspapers.

This section presents inspiring and dynamic portraits of black Americans—shot by famous photographers, both black and white and by local African American photo studios during the period of the modern civil rights movement.

Click Images for More Detail
Coretta Scott King with Daughter at Funeral, April 9, 1968
Coretta Scott King with Daughter at Funeral, April 9, 1968
Moneta Sleet
Coretta Scott King with Daughter at Funeral, April 9, 1968
Gelatin silver print
9 7/16 x 9 in.
© Bettmann/CORBIS
Elaine Williams, Houston, c. 1960s
Elaine Williams, Houston, c. 1960s
Elnora Frazier
Elaine Williams, Houston, c. 1960s
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 in.
Courtesy of Documentary Arts/Texas African American Photography Archive
Lorraine Hansberry, c. 1960
Lorraine Hansberry, c. 1960
by David Moses Attie
Gelatin silver print
c. 1960
Image: 34.6 x 27.3 cm (13 5/8 x 10 3/4")
Sheet: 35.6 x 27.8 cm (14 x 10 15/16")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22")
Frame: 71.9 x 56.7 x 3.2 cm (28 5/16 x 22 5/16 x 1 1/4")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
© David Attie

Digital image is provided for research use only. Permission to reproduce for any reason must be requested in writing from the Office of Rights & Reproductions at the National Portrait Gallery.
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