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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

The Colored Fountain: 1938

The Colored Fountain: 1938

April 1938. "Drinking fountain on the county courthouse lawn." Halifax, North Carolina. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the FSA.

 

I remember

In 1963 I went on a trip thru the Deep South with a neighborhood family to help watch the children I was 14 years old and had grown up in a segregrated small town in Ohio. I took my little Brownie camera with me. For the first time I saw scenes like this as we traveled. I came home a change person. I grew up alot that summer, when school began that fall I remember taking a stand in my history class for civil rights. I was no long the little girl from a small town in Ohio, I had witnessed the unequality of the Deep South. I was no longer a child.

Did you know you are a jerk Dave?

Dave;
It is a good thing that we as Americans have moved away from the horse and buggy mindset of idiots like you

[Ms. Palin, perhaps you're a bit confused about who is posting what. Either that, or this is a dig at Sarah Palin? I think I get it. - Dave]

Rarely

Separate but equal was rarely equal.

Separate but equal?

I wonder if there is a near identical drinking fountain on the opposite side of the lawn for whites. This fountain is well made and mounted on a cement base. Was this the former white fountain which has now been downgraded after the installation of a new cooled water fountain indoors?

[If it is, it wouldn't be very equal. - Dave]

Strange Fruit

This image brought to mind the powerful lyrics of Strange Fruit, sung by Billie Holiday:

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Halifax

This has disappeared into history for most people, but I remember it quite vividly. We still had two water fountains and four toilets in North Carolina in the late 1950s.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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