Current Exhibit

James Van Der Zee and Michael Francis Blake: Picturing Blackness in the 1920s

Location: Rubenstein Library Photography Gallery 

This exhibition highlights resonances between the work of James Van Der Zee and Michael Francis Blake, two African American photographers working in the 1920s at the height of the "New Negro Movement" Blake’s postcard portraits of the “Lowcountry” inhabitants of Charleston, South Carolina, juxtaposed with Van Der Zee’s “Big City” subjects in Harlem, New York,reflect a shared ethos of the cultural ferment of the Harlem Renaissance at its height: to document a dignified image of cultural blackness, foster racial pride, and promote an aesthetic refusal to submit to the laws of Jim Crow. 

Self Portraits of Michael Francis Blake and James Van Der Zee


Gallery View of Picturing Blackness

Past Exhibits presented by the Franklin Research Center

The Activist Archive: SNCC Collections in the Rubenstein Library

John Hope Franklin Imprint of An American Scholar

From Blackface to Blaxploitation 

Conscience of a Nation: John Hope Franklin on African American History

Soul & Service: North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company 

Third Person, First Person: Slave Voices from the Special Collection Library

Still Going On: Celebrating the Life and Times of William Grant Still