In Our Lives We Are Whole:
Snapshots of Everyday Life, 1935-1975

The most powerful and sustained vehicle for black self-representation and celebration did not require the cooperation of the media. Far from the stage sets of Hollywood and the advertising agencies of Madison Avenue, a simple, ever-present device was stoking a quiet visual revolution: the snapshot camera.

As the popularity of increasingly inexpensive and easily accessible cameras swept the nation in the early twentieth century, black Americans, like their white counterparts, relied on the snapshot to record and commemorate their lives and achievements. In the end, millions of African Americans took cameras into their hands and used them as the ultimate "weapon of choice" against racism. Snapshot by snapshot, these amateur photographers did for themselves what decades of mainstream representation could not: made visible the complexity of a people.

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In Our Lives We Are Whole: Snapshots of Everyday Life, 1935-1975
In Our Lives We Are Whole: Snapshots of Everyday Life, 1935-1975
Black-and-white and color slide show
Picture Researcher: Joanne Leonardt Cassullo
Film Editor: Niger Miles
Consultant: Elizabeth Alexander
Produced by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture