Generations in Black and White
Photographs from the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection
Publication Year: 2014
This portfolio of eighty-three photographs constitutes a stunning celebration of African American achievement in the twentieth century. Carl Van Vechten, a longtime patron of black writers and artists, took these photographs over the course of three decades—primarily as gifts to his subjects, such luminaries as W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Joe Louis, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne, and James Earl Jones.
The photographs Rudolph P. Byrd has selected for this volume come from the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of Negro Arts and Letters, which Van Vechten established at Yale University. Byrd has arranged the images chronologically, according to the time at which each subject emerged as a vital presence in African American tradition.
Complementing the photographs are a substantial introduction by Byrd, biographical sketches of each subject, and poems by the noted writer Michael S. Harper. The result is a volume of beauty and power, a record of black excellence that will engage and inform new generations.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Portraits
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Generations in Black and White is a project I undertook with enthusiasm and trepidation.Such volatile poles of feeling very often produce paralysis, and paralysis does not producebooks. I was fortunate, however, in that from conception to completion I stood on theshoulders of many, and as a consequence of this unwavering support I have produced aI was introduced to Yale University's James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of...
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..."In the early days of the Negro literary and artistic movement," wrote James WeldonJohnson of his friend Carl Van Vechten, "no one in the country did more to forwardit than he accomplished in frequent magazine articles and by his many personal effortsin behalf of individual Negro writers and artists."' When Johnson published this tributeto Van Vechten in Along This Way in 1933, Van Vechten had just begun his important...
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..."The tree is unique, qualitatively speaking, and cannot be subject to purelyquantitative comparison; it is impossible to reduce the world of sense-perceptionsto quantitative categories. Qualitative things do not belong to matter,which is merely mirror for it, so it can be seen, but not so that it can be"Man is created for the purpose of active participation in Divine Intellect,...
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Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 83 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2014