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Portraits of Nineteenth Century African American Women Activists Posted by LC

Library of Congress – The following is a guest post by Beverly Brannan, Curator of Photography, Prints & Photographs Division.

“African American women as well as men assumed civic responsibilities in the decades after the Civil War. William Henry Richards (1856-1941) was active in several organizations that promoted civil rights and civil liberties for African Americans at the end of the nineteenth century. Richards taught at Howard University Law School from 1890 until his retirement in 1928. In 2013, the Library acquired his collection from the descendants of William C. McNeill, his physician at the end of Richards’ life. Both men were on the faculty of Howard University..Richards’s collection includes portraits of people who joined him and others working in the suffrage and temperance movements and in education, journalism and the arts. Among them were women who were in the public eye, active in a variety of professions and causes. In honor of women’s history month, Prints and Photographs Division staff digitized selected photographs from the collection showing women who were identified by name. These photographs show the women at earlier ages than most portraits previously available of them online…As research on women’s contributions to social organizations continues to expand, we hope that these newly digitized portraits will help make the faces of these dedicated women become more widely known and will encourage further scholarship.” [emphasis added]

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