How Black people in the 19th century used photography as a tool for social change

Jubilee singers at Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee, pose for promotional photograph, circa 1871. William L. Clements Library

Frederick Douglass is perhaps best known as an abolitionist and intellectual. But he was also the most photographed American of the 19th century. And he encouraged the use of photography to promote social change for Black equality.

In that spirit, this article – using images from the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography at the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan – examines different ways Black Americans from the 19th century used photography as a tool for self-empowerment and social change.

Jubilee singers at Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee, pose for promotional photograph, circa 1871. William L. Clements Library
Recommended Posts
Contact Us