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African American Artists: Collection Connections

This guide highlights the work of Black photographers, printmakers, and other artists in the Prints & Photographs collections at the Library of Congress.

Introduction

This guide introduces you to the variety of visual materials made by Black artists that you can find throughout the Prints & Photographs Division (P&P) collections. The entries represent tens of thousands of items by an estimated 200 African American photographers, printmakers, and other creators, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Notable strengths include works from regional workshops and other collectives as well as standalone works in a variety of styles and media. You can see artist prints in etching, lithography, screenprint, and woodcut; drawings in charcoal, ink, pencil, and watercolor; and such photographs as daguerreotypes, tintypes, cartes-de-visite, albumen, gelatin silver, and inkjet prints. The majority of works described in this guide were made by African American creators. A smaller portion of the collection includes images by other Afro-diasporic and African artists.

The guide has two sections--Fine Prints and Photography. Each section lists the creator names alphabetically and links to their work in the online catalog. When a creator is a graphic artist as well as a photographer, the name is listed in both sections. Collections particularly strong in works by African American artists are also summarized.

We invite you to enjoy the richness of the Library's ever-growing collections by searching this guide and exploring the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. New work by African American artists will continue to be acquired and identified for the collections.

A Note on the Guide Series "Collection Connections"

This guide is part of a larger effort to make collections more discoverable and available. We are compiling lists of creators of diverse heritages, particularly from historically underrepresented communities, based whenever possible on how artists self-identify. Creators often have multiple heritages and identities, or simply identify by nationality. We also acknowledge the plurality of terms creators may wish to identify with, including African, African American, Afro American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-diasporic, and Black.