Happy 4th! I hope everyone had a great long weekend. Here are a few links and images to keep you feeling celebratory.
Cyd Charisse - c. 1940s
1936 --- Ziegfeld girls march on the beach with an American flag. From left to right: Claire Owens, Claire Manners, Frances McInerny, Mary Lange, Monica Bannister, Bonnie Bannon, and Wanda Perry. --- Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS
“American Gothic,” considered to be Parks’s signature image, was taken in Washington, D.C., in 1942, during the photographer’s fellowship with the Farm Security Administration, a government agency set up by President Roosevelt to aid farmers in despair. “It’s the first professional image I ever made,” Parks says, “created on my first day in Washington.” Roy Stryker, who led the FSA’s very best documentary photographers—Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Carl Mydans, etc.—told Parks to go out and get acquainted with the city. Parks was amazed by the amount of bigotry and discrimination he encountered on his very first day. “White restaurants made me enter through the back door, white theaters wouldn’t even let me in the door, and as the day went on things just went from bad to worse.” Stryker told Parks to go talk with some older black people who had lived their entire lives in Washington and see how they had coped. “That’s how I met Ella,” Parks explains. Ella Watson was a black charwoman who mopped floors in the FSA building. Parks asked her about her life, which she divulged as having been full of misery, bigotry and despair. Parks’s simple question, “Would you let me photograph you?” and Ella’s affirmative response, led to the photographer’s most recognizable image of all time. “Two days later Stryker saw the image and told me I’d gotten the right idea but was going to get all the FSA photogs fired, that my image of Ella was ‘an indictment of America.’ I thought the image had been killed but one day there it was, on the front page of The Washington Post .” At the time, Parks couldn’t have realized that the image would go on to become the symbol of the pre-civil rights era’s treatment of minorities. (PDN)
Not everyone is allowed the same opportunities and privileges, however…
Equal Rights Amendment protest.
First Lady Betty Ford works at her desk, where a “Don’t Tread on Me” Equal Rights Amendment doormat hangs. June 30, 1975.
Stonewall uprising, 1969
Finally, some fun times and Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Father Fealey and family." Ignatius Fealey, post chaplain at Fort Myer and future pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.
Washington, D.C. "Helen Davis, 1924." Helen's father, Dwight Davis, was Secretary of War in the Coolidge administration and a tennis champion who founded the Davis Cup. National Photo glass negative.
Freaks and Geeks (1999)
Gorgeous images from Shorpy.
Washington, D.C. July 26, 1919. "Bathing beach parade at Tidal Basin." National Photo Company Collection glass negative.
Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "National Radio School."
August 9, 1938. Washington, D.C. "Air conditioned hen house is latest. Biddy increases the production of eggs in an air-conditioned hen house, U.S. Department of Agriculture experts have discovered after extensive experiments. The first temperature controlled maternity ward for hens has just been put into operation at the governmental experimental farm here. The hens have voiced their approval by laying more frequently; also a more uniform egg. R.B. Nestler, poultry expert, is pictured as he removes the eggs from the automatic chute in the new room. Note the air conditioning apparatus on the ceiling." So this poultry man with the wonderful name of Nestler is, contrary to USDA Best Practices, putting all his eggs in one basket. Harris & Ewing glass negative.
Washington, D.C., circa 1938. "Patrick Brennan, son of the Minister of Ireland, and Mrs. Brennan." Or something like that. One of a series of photographs depicting children of various diplomats speaking from their homes to a radio audience. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
THE HOWDY CLUB A lesbian bar on 3rd Street in the Village. Club was open from the 1930s-1940s. (Above picture - Howdy Club’s football team, circa 1940)
Mattachine Society Inc, of New York 1966 (Poster reads: Homosexuals are different…. but… we believe they have the right to be. We believe that the civil rights and human dignity of homosexuals are as precious as those of any other citizen… we believe that the homosexual has the right to live, work and participate in a free society. Mattachine defends the rights of homosexuals and tries to create a climate of understanding and acceptance.)
August 1942. "Inspecting thousands of drills each day, women employed by a large Midwest drill and tool company must learn to detect the tiniest flaw in these vital machine accessories. Republic Drill and Tool Co., Chicago." Medium format negative by Ann Rosener for the Office of War Information.
Rest assured, the Morris Minor is one of the world’s safest cars. 1954.
One, Inc. was the FIRST pro-gay publication in the United States. Started by members of the Mattachine Society, One, Inc. focused on gay men’s issues, health and political rights. The premier issue launched November 1952. (Above Picture: One, Inc.’s August 1958 issues (almost 11 years BEFORE Stonewall) claiming homosexual pride.)
More great shots from Shorpy:
July 31, 1921. Washington, D.C. "Pie eating contest at Tidal Basin bathing beach." In the back row: the blurry but unmistakable facial contours of Iola Swinnerton. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.
May 28, 1923. Washington, D.C. "Potomac Tidal Basin bathing beach." National Photo Company Collection glass negative.
June 9, 1937. Washington, D.C. "Congressional hog caller. The Capitol Plaza reverberated with sounds of the barnyard today as Rep. Robert L. Mouton of Louisiana went into serious training for his coming hog-calling contest with Rep. Otha D. Wearin of Iowa. The contest, which will take place on the Capitol steps sometime in the near future, is the result of an argument between the two solons as to the abilities of the hog-yodelers from the respective states. Judging from his demonstration today, the cameraman is willing right now to place the mantle of champion on Rep. Mouton." Harris & Ewing glass negative.
Washington, D.C., circa 1938. "Native American boys with bicycle." The original caption for this photo, which has been lost, probably did not use the phrase "Native American." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
Washington, D.C., 1920. "Bill Dudack, Georgetown University basketball." National Photo Company Collection glass negative.
November 1935. Prince George's County, Maryland. "CCC boys at work." Another one of those Civilian Conservation Corps projects that involved lots of photogenic exertion. 35mm negative by Carl Mydans for the FSA.
Washington, D.C., 1915. "Dog show." The happy couple, looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
As always, check out the great site here.
Posted by Usable Past under public history
ANGELA DAVIS AND TONI MORRISON ON MARCH 28, 1974. PHOTO BY JILL KREMENTZ.
SELMA, Ala.—Freedom Day. Police arrest demonstrators from the SNCC for holding placards urging blacks to register to vote in front of the federal building, Oct. 7, 1963.
After Dinner At The Farm
Pearl Bailey as Madame Fleur in the 1954 Broadway musical, House of Flowers, with her “flowers”, Josephine Premice (Tulip), Enid Mosier (Pansy) and Enid Moore (Gladiola). Image via Corbis.
Eartha Kitt teaching a dance class, James Dean in the background.
Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin in the late 1950s.
Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber, Tennessee (LOC) 1943 (by The Library of Congress)