Signs of discrimination

Thursday 9 January 2003

The US Library of Congress houses the work created in the 1930s by Farm Security Administration photographers​—​Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and others. On the library website is a col­lec­tion of photographs of signs enforcing racial discrimination. From the web page intro:

Photographers working for the Farm Security Ad­min­is­tra­tion Historical Section (later transferred to the Office of War Information) were encouraged to document continuity and change in many aspects of life in America during the years the unit was in operation. They were particularly encouraged to photograph billboards and signs as one indicator of such developments. Although no doc­u­men­ta­tion has been found to indicate that photographers were explicitly encouraged to photograph racial discrimination signs, the collection includes a significant number of this type of image, which is rarely found in other Prints and Photographs Division collections.

This reference aid includes all the known images of dis­crim­i­na­tion signs found in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information file of photographic prints. This list was compiled in response to frequent patron requests for such images. The list is updated as additional images are discovered.

Negro man entering movie theater by 'colored' entrance

Negro man entering movie theater by ‘colored’ entrance, Belzoni, Mis­sis­sip­pi, October 1939. Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.

filed under History + Photography + Society

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