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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Chain Gang: 1910

Chain Gang: 1910

Chain gang of convicts engaged in road work, Autumn 1910. Pitt County, North Carolina. The inmates are quartered in the wagons, which are equipped with bunks and move from place to place as labor is utilized. The central figure is J.Z. McLawhon, county superintendent of chain gangs. The dogs are bloodhounds used for running down any attempted escapes. View full size.

 

Skip James

I have a compilation of Skip James & Son House music entitled "Hard Time Killin' Floor" and this photo is featured on the cd cover. It was issued by Yazoo Records, which I thought usually does a good job on research regarding the music.

I'm a little disappointed (in Yazoo) to learn that this has no direct relevance to either of their lives besides illustrating the general plight of rural black Southerners.

I suppose evoking that atmosphere was the intention, but it just seems too specific and documentary in nature to be used when it's apparently not even contemporary with the music on the disc.

Skip James

I do believe that's famous bluesman Skip James on guitar over there.

[Skip James was 8 years old in 1910. - Dave]

Chain Gang

I especially enjoy the Cream of Wheat guy next to the guitar player.

Pitt County, NC

This website is so neat, I live in Pitt County, NC. It's interesting to see all these old pictures.

Chain Gang

'Nuff to give ya'll the blues!

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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