Clicking through the worldwide web led me to one of the best photo sets I've seen in a long time. The images are a depiction of Black life in Chicago during the 1970s, captured by John H. White.
"John H. White was hired by the Environmental Protection Agency as a freelance photographer for the “Documerica Project.” In addition to taking photos “relating to environmental problems,” he was sent to capture images of “everyday life in the 1970s."
I imagine many of the faces seen in the set are one to two generations removed from the Great Migration. White's photos remind me that several Midwestern cities were once thriving portals of not just Americana, but also the Black experience in America. It may have not been grand but life wasn't wholly bleak either.
For the virtual trip to the past, click through the gallery to view the photos.
Photos + Captions: National Archives and Records Administration on Flickr
“Blacks And Whites Take To The Water At A 12th Street Beach On Lake Michigan On Chicago’s South Side In The Summer Of 1973.”
“The Rev. Jesse Jackson Speaks On A Radio Broadcast From The Headquarters Of Operation Push, At Its Annual Convention.”
“A Young Black Man Showing His Muscle During A Small Community Program In Chicago On The South Side.”
“The Kadats Of America, Chicago’s Most Loved Young Black Drill Team, Shown Performing On A Sunday Afternoon At A Community Talent Show On The South Side.”
“World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, A Black Muslim, Attends The Sect’s Service To Hear Elijah Muhammad Deliver The Annual Savior’s Day Message In Chicago.”
“‘The Fruit Of Islam’, A Special Group Of Bodyguards For Muslim Leader Elijah Muhammad, Sit At The Bottom Of The Platform While He Delivers His Annual Savior’s Day Message In Chicago.”
“A Senior Citizens’ March to Protest Inflation, Unemployment and High Taxes.”
“Black Muslim Women Dressed In White Applaud Elijah Muhammad.”
“Black Man Enjoying A Nap On A Chaise Lounge On Chicago’s South Side.”
“A Black Band Performs At The Lake Meadows Shopping Center In Chicago.”
“Black Products And Services Was One Of The Themes At The Annual Black Expo Held In Chicago.”
“Black Children Play Outside The Ida B. Wells Homes, One Of Chicago’s Oldest Housing Projects.”
“Sunrise On Lake Michigan With Chicago Shown In The Background.”
“Artist Ron Blackburn Painting An Outdoor Wall Mural At The Corner Of 33rd And Giles Streets In Chicago.”
“Black Ghetto Child Savors A Snow Cone Just Received From A Sidewalk Vendor On Chicago’s West Side.”
“Chicago Ghetto On The South Side.”
“Worshippers At Holy Angel Catholic Church On Chicago’s South Side. It Is The City’s Largest Black Catholic Church.”
“Black Student In A Black Studies Class In A West Side Chicago Classroom Reading A Book About Great Rulers In Africa’s Past.”
“A Swimsuit Clad Black Woman Enjoys Her Summer Outing At Chicago’s 12th Street Beach On Lake Michigan.”
“A Class Of Black Student Welders With Their Instructor At A Former Grade School In The Heart Of The Cabrini-green Housing Project.”
“Black Family Enjoying The Summer Weather At Chicago’s 12th Street Beach On Lake Michigan.”
“Black Members Of The Chicago City Council During A Budget Hearing.”
“Black Youths Play Basketball At Stateway Gardens’ Highrise Housing Project On Chicago’s South Side.”
“Black Man Operating A Newsstand In Chicago On The West Side The City Is Believed To Be The Black Business Capital Of The United States.”
“Minority Youngsters Who Gathered To Have Their Picture Taken On Chicago’s South Side During A Community Talent Show.”
“Black Neighbors Outside On Chicago’s West Side.”
“Lake Meadows Apartment Complex On Chicago’s South Side Inhabited 70% By Blacks.”
“Washington Park On Chicago’s South Side Where Many Black Families Enjoy Picnicking During The Summer.”
“Vote Registration Drive Was One Aspect Of Black Expo.”
“Lerone Bennett, Well Known Black Writer Who Is Senior Editor At Ebony Magazine, In His Office At Johnson Publishing Company In Chicago.”
I want more like this!
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