Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

November 27, 1995

Library of Congress Opens NAACP Pictorial Collections to Researchers

The Library's Prints and Photographs Division recently completed the conservation, processing, and cataloging of the pictorial portion of the Records of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that were gifts to the Library. Researchers now have access to the 4,500 photos, prints, drawings, and posters on microfilm.

The archives, which date from ca. 1838 to 1969, with the majority covering the period from 1944 to 1955, provide a visual record of the history of the association and the advancement of African Americans' rights in the United States.

The pictures depict victims of police and mob violence, segregation in schools, and civil rights marches. Others document African American men and women in the armed services during World War II, reflecting the NAACP's campaign to integrate the armed services.

Of particular note are photographs of: Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King Jr. receiving the association's Spingarn Medals for distinguished achievement in 1939 and 1957; the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage march and rally in Washington, D.C.; portraits of the U.S. Air Force's all-black 99th Fighter Squadron; Juanita Jackson, youth coordinator for the NAACP, visiting the Scottsboro defendants; NAACP Arkansas President Daisy Bates with the "Little Rock Nine"; and the "zoot suit riot" of 1943 in Los Angeles.

The photographs also feature numerous individuals active in the association, including Ella Baker, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ruby Hurley, James Weldon Johnson, Daisy Lampkin, Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Mitchell, and Herbert Wright. African American entertainers, sports figures, and political figures are included. Administrative activities such as conferences, fund- raising campaigns, and branch membership drives are also prevalent subjects of the photographs.

African American photographers produced many of the photographs in the collection.

Cartoons in the collection provide commentary on subjects of concern to the association, such as lynching and Jim Crow laws. Illustrations and posters advertise NAACP membership drives and social events.

The photographs are organized by subject into 49 groups ranging from six items to more than 900 items. A finding aid provides background information about the collection and details the contents of the larger groups.

The collection is now available for use, primarily through a 19-reel microfilm surrogate, in the Prints and Photographs Division Reading Room located at LM-337 of the Library's Madison Building. Copies of the microfilm are available for purchase from the Photoduplication Service (mailing address: Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-5230; telephone: (202) 707-5640).

Because many of the photographs and other images originally came to the NAACP from a variety of sources (wire services, independent photographers, etc.) copyright restrictions may apply to publication or distribution.

# # #

PR 95-154
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top