Picturing Black History

Photographs and stories that changed the world

A collaboration of     and    

Welcome to the Picturing Black History Book

African American woman and man sitting on a bench

“An astonishing work, Picturing Black History offers a trove of both famous and unseen photos with brief, poignant accompanying essays to show not only the centrality of Black people to American history but also how African Americans used the photographer’s lens to tell their own stories. The editors, authors, and Getty images have created a beautiful book that stands on its own as a work of art, a veritable museum in print.” 

—HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

Picturing Black History uncovers untold stories and rarely seen images of the Black experience, providing new context around culturally significant moments, as part of an ongoing collaborative effort between Getty Images, Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, and the History Departments at The Ohio State and Miami Universities.

Picturing Black History informs, educates, and inspires our current moment by exploring the past, blending the breadth and depth of Getty Images’s archives with the renowned expertise of Origins contributors and The Ohio State’s and Miami’s History Departments, including Daniela Edmeier, Damarius Johnson, Nicholas Breyfogle, and Steve Conn.

four young African American girls, two of them being carried on the other two girls' backs
a man running in front of a small structure that is on fire

Created by a growing collective of professional historians, art historians, Black Studies scholars, and photographers, this book is full of rousing, vibrant essays paired with rarely seen photographs that expand our understanding of Black history. Showcasing Getty Images’s unmatched collection of photographs, Picturing Black History embraces the power of visual storytelling to relay little-known stories of oppression and resistance, perseverance and resilience, freedom, dreams, imagination, and joy within the United States and around the world.

In collecting these new photographic essays, this book furthers an ongoing dialogue on the significance of Black history and Black life, sharing new perspectives on the current status of prejudice and discrimination bias with a wider audience. Picturing Black History embraces the power of academic learning and scholarship to recontextualize and dispel prejudices, while uncovering, digitizing, and preserving new archival materials to amplify a more inclusive visual landscape.

Colorized photograph of American author, historian, and sociologist WEB Du Bois (1868 - 1963), while a junior at Fisk University, 1887.
table of contents of PBH book. variety of images of men and women.