Reflections in Black

January 12, 2002, through March 10, 2002
Smithsonian African American Photography: Art and Activism



Temporary Exhibitions, Jaffe and Hall Galleries


This exhibition explores the rich legacy of African American photographers who captured the struggles, achievements, and tragedies of a tumultuous time: the civil rights and black power movements of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Assuming the role of social activist, these photographers documented leading figures such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Muhammad Ali, as well as innovators in the music world such as Billie Holiday, Lester Young, and John Coltrane. A continuing desire to raise social consciousness motivates contemporary photographers to chronicle the realities of life for African Americans today. Photographs of the 1980s and 1990s, many the results of the artists' personal engagement with their own communities, form the second major focus of the exhibition.

Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography is organized by the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, and is circulated by Curatorial Assistance, Los Angeles, California. Its presentation at the Hood Museum of Art is generously supported by the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund.

Exhibition Curator

Dr. Deborah Willis | Juliette Bianco

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Exhibition subject: Modern & Contemporary ArtUnited States & Canada