African American Photography Exhibit at Library

Geneva and Mitch Shackelford with unidentified boy, c. 1910s.

Geneva and Mitch Shackelford with unidentified boy, c. 1910s.

In the early twentieth century, posing for a photographic portrait was an event—it was an opportunity for people to make meaningful statements about themselves, their families, and their communities. For those living in rural Fayette County, Alabama, this service was provided by the family of Mitch and Geneva Shackelford, a family of multi-talented African American community leaders and commercial photographers whose photographs are currently on display at the Columbus Public Library in the exhibition Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1900-1935).

On February 11 at noon, Both Sides of the Lens curator Andrew Nelson

Unidentified portrait, c. 1910s.

Unidentified portrait, c. 1910s.

and Annie Shackelford, whose great grandparents and grandfather were

among the photographers responsible for these remarkable images, will give a gallery talk about the Shackelfords’ photography on the first floor of the Columbus Public Library. In this informal and interactive presentation, Nelson and Shackelford will provide an in-depth look at the Shackelfords’ photographic process and describe the powerful impact the family’s photography had on their local community. Along the way, Nelson and Shackelford will also describe the historical significance of these images and speak to the valuable and often overlooked role that

photography plays in historical research.

Wedding couple, c. 1910s.

Wedding couple, c. 1910s.

The over 40 photographs were reproduced from the collection of early 20th century glass plate negatives held at the Birmingham Public Library.

“Both Sides of the Lens” will be displayed through the end of February.

The gallery talk as well as the exhibit are free and open to the public.

For more information contact Mona Vance-Ali at 662-329-5304.

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 11:07 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My great great grandfather was the man who allegedly adopted Mitch. Very interesting read, thank you.

    • I would really love to hear and find out who your great grandfather was Ronald. My great great grandfather was Rufus Shackelford and his father was Starling Ash “Berry” Shackelford

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