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African American Communities in America's Cities: Photographs by Camilo J. Vergara

Camilo J. Vergara has photographed America’s cities since the 1970s. This guide will introduce you to his photos of racially-segregated African American communities—images that bear witness to discrimination, hardship, perseverance, ingenuity and pride.


For nearly 50 years, Chilean-born, New York-based documentarian Camilo J. Vergara has walked the streets of America’s cities, photographing the people, the built environment and artwork such as murals. His journey has taken him through some of the nation’s largest African American communities in places like Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Harlem and Los Angeles. His photography bears witness to the perseverance, ingenuity and pride that characterize those communities. Home to the Vergara photograph collection, the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division has compiled this research guide to introduce patrons to Vergara’s photography of African American communities.

Camilo J. Vergara, photographer. 95 degree day, view along E Palmer St. towards Chene, Detroit, Michigan, 1995. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

All of the photos in this guide are from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. Camilo J. Vergara's photographs are used by permission of the photographer. For information on permissions and credit line, see the Camilo José Vergara Rights and Restrictions information page.