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Photographing Freetowns: African American Kentucky through the Lens of Helen Balfour Morrison, 1935-1946

Between 1935 and 1946, Helen Balfour Morrison went on at least three photography expeditions from Chicago's North Shore to the Inner Bluegrass region of Kentucky, where she photographed African Americans living in rural freetowns or hamlets in the area. Her photographs and personal papers were donated to the Newberry Library in 2016 and are encapsulated in the online exhibition Photographing Freetowns: African American Kentucky through the Lens of Helen Balfour Morrison. Visitors will want to begin by reading the exhibition's introduction, which speculates about the reasons behind Morrison's choice of subjects. Was she "engaging in a common rite of passage for artists in the era?" Was she trying to "romanticize life in the segregated South?" Some of her photography titles, such as "Masters Got Company" and "Looking Over the Old Plantation," suggest the latter. The web exhibition includes sections with biographical information about Morrison and the Bluegrass region of Kentucky as well as the photography collection, categorized in sections such as Sugar Hill, Zion Hill, or Working Women. Readers can jump to the Browse Images section to see all of the 100 or so images in the exhibition, as well as letters, documents, maps and postcards.
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Scout Publication
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GEM Subject
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Date of Scout Publication
2020-06-12
Date Of Record Creation
2020-05-04 14:52:02
Date Of Record Release
2020-05-05 12:18:06
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