Picturing Black History

Photographs and stories that changed the world

A collaboration of     and    

The Revolution of Being

Black women and girls being fully present in our bodies, our lives, our laughter, our heartache, our joy, our friendships, our family, ourselves is revolutionary, and it’s on record here.

Gladys Bentley: Pioneering Queer Performer

Gladys Bentley consistently and unapologetically broke the unspoken rules of gender norms

The Children of the Mississippi Freedom Summer

Aunt Jemima and Hattie McDaniel’s Mammy: Selling Blackness to 20th Century Consumers

A Tough Road Uphill

“Buffalo Soldiers”—The 92nd Infantry Division—in Italy, 1944-45

Wade in the Water

The Fight to Desegregate Savannah Beach

previous arrow
next arrow

Historic Photos, Fresh Stories

Circa 1968: Studio portrait of American pianist and jazz singer Nina Simone (1933 - 2003) reclining on the floor while wearing a sleeveless, V-neck dress with a shell neckpiece.

The performer’s transformation from jazz to politics during the Civil Rights Era

The keynote address Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave at Fisk University in 1964 drew crowds from all over the city, including some of the great Civil Rights icons in American history.

How Paul Robeson sang to 35,000 Canadians without crossing the border

CORE’s Freedom Rides solidified its centrality to desegregation efforts during the Civil Rights Movement

Despite systemic racism, Black soldiers forced their way into parachute training and took one major step toward integration.

Portraits of Frederick Douglass, the most photographed American of the nineteenth century, illuminate his life and career as an abolitionist.

Most Popular

About Picturing Black History

Our Mission

The editorial team at Picturing Black History recognizes the importance of Black history as a subject of academic knowledge and a source of African diaspora identities. We embrace the power of images to capture stories of oppression and resistance, perseverance and resilience, freedom dreams, imagination, and joy within the United States and around the globe.

Picturing Black History emerged in the wake of national and international Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers in 2020. We recognize that Black Lives Matter is a contemporary outgrowth of a long history of Black racial protest in the United States. Picturing Black History is our collaborative effort to contribute to an ongoing public dialogue on the significance of Black history and Black life in the United States and throughout the globe.