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Black photography exhibition opens at the Smithsonian

on Wednesday,February 04,2009 19:02

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An exhibition celebrating almost a century of the black community''s history and transformation is on display in Washington, D.C.

The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise focuses on the work of Addison Scurlock and two of his sons who, between 1911 to 1994, managed to capture on celluloid some of the most unforgettable images associated with the rise of the black community as a social and economic force.

More than 100 photographs document the dynamic evolution of a black middle class despite segregation and depict the civil rights movement as well as the damaging effects the later riots had on the thriving community.

The Scurlocks also captured some of the most prominent leaders of the community, including Duke Ellington, Ralph Bunche, Mary McLeod Bethune and Muhammad Ali.

"[T]hese images [represent] the beauty of black folks, the dignity of African Americans not just in contrast to racist imagery, but the way in which people want to see themselves," Paul Gardullo, museum curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which helped curate the exhibit, told the Associated Press.

And the museum stresses that the photographs show Washington as "the mecca for leaders in African American business, culture and higher education long before New York City''s Harlem."

The exhibition - a collaboration between the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History - will be on view through November 15.
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