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As when searching for visual evidence of any broad historical event or social movement, first do some background research to identify specific events, places, individuals and dates you hope to see depicted—as this is the type of information that is most often included in image descriptions in the online catalog. In other words, what are you hoping to find images of? Secondly, think about what kind of evidence you think these images would provide.
The Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) includes descriptions of about 95% of the materials in the Division's collections and is the primary means of finding descriptions of images from the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division.
Below are some categories to consider as you prepare to enter keywords into the online catalog.* Using Great Migration as a search term will not yield many relevant results simply because images in the collection are not assigned this label. Sample search terms are italicized.
When you find a catalog record relevant to your research, it can be useful to click on the subject headings in that record in order to find related images.
*Terms used to describe images related to the lives of African Americans in the 20th century were assigned by individuals sometimes from outside and sometimes from within African American communities. Please note that terminology in historical materials and in Library descriptions does not always match the language preferred by African Americans individually or as a community, and may include negative stereotypes.
Often we are lacking information about people in a photograph or the context around which the image was created, so we do not necessarily know, for example, if their relocation or migration was permanent, or whether the community depicted was directly affected by Black migration from the South. Consider the two photos below for a case study:
The following lists and guides were compiled by Prints & Photographs Division staff and may be relevant to your research.