This article explores the use of photography as a strategy for teaching Black educational philanthropy. Ordinary consumer-philanthropists, white and Black, saw value in the production, sale, and circulation of photography for the support of African American schools in the former Confederate states. In reading these historic photographs, students bear witness to the curated photographic collection of liberated children, traveling choirs, and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campus communities who left little-to-no written records. The materiality and content of the historic photographs enhances the teaching of Black educational philanthropy from the Civil War to the early Jim Crow era.

Scholars often turn to photography for understanding emancipation and its complex legacies in the United States. For individuals who left few archival sources, this visual evidence allows for new ways to see diverse African Americans who witnessed the greatest revolution in their lifetime—abolition and change in status from property to citizen. Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer argued that these photographic images “reveal the different ways in which black Americans positioned themselves and were posed by others to address prevailing questions about the meaning of black freedom in America.”1 Through exploration of early photography, scholars have offered fresh insights for understanding how diverse African Americans and their white allies found empowerment in technology over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This article highlights the use of photography as a form of Black educational philanthropy. The production, sale, and circulation allowed for the growth of post-emancipation African American education and informed debates of race, education, and citizenship. In the classroom, personal as well as institutional collections allow students to engage with scholarship and raise additional questions from the materiality of the surviving photographic images.2

As a collector of early African American photography, I have obtained several items specifically for teaching and research. My attendance at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center’s 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on the Visual Culture of the Civil War introduced me to the potential for overcoming the lack of K–12 educational training of my undergraduate students in the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. Many arrive at college without any substantive knowledge of the African American experience of the era. Moreover, the knowledge they had was shaped by the lack of critical engagement with emancipation and the Reconstruction era. Very few have an appreciation of the fact that Reconstruction embodied the realization of African Americans’ antebellum rhetoric of hope for abolition. This reality and the revolutionary opportunities achieved through the African American schoolhouse, expansion of state and national citizenship, and the creation of community institutions continued to inspire individuals to persevere, fight, and create meaningful lives in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Following my experience at CUNY, my collecting habits changed and I also incorporated early African American photography in my teaching about emancipation, African American education, and philanthropy. By using historic photographs of Black educational philanthropy, students better understand how the rhetoric of hope allowed for the growth of Black education, the perseverance of community, and the use of photography for challenging notions of Black criminality.

Use of photography of Black educational philanthropy allows for deeper insights in the classroom. Cartes-de-visite, real photo postcards, and other photography were produced for the consumer market in the nineteenth century. The sale of these images had several purposes. It offered a revenue stream for the funding of Black education. Purchasers could support new southern Black schools and institutions of higher education at a modest cost. This passive form of philanthropy gave consumers a sense of personal fulfillment in the support of African American schools in the former Confederate states. As the racial demographics shifted, Black consumers embraced the older tradition to support their alma maters for future generations engaged in the long struggle against white supremacy and denial of citizenship rights.

Drawing on my own collection, students view, hold, and analyze several examples of these cards. In reading these historic photographs, students bear witness to the liberated children, traveling choirs, and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campus communities who contributed to the growth of African American education through consumerism. These visual texts give voice to the many unidentified individuals who left little-to-no written records but celebrated their new status and existence through photographic technology. In some instances, the curated teaching examples also shed light on how consumer-philanthropists understood their acts and work in advancing African American education. Instead of relying on high quality digital scans, the materiality of the physical photographs allows for an immersive and inclusive mode of learning that helps students gain deeper insights on Black educational philanthropy from the Civil War and Jim Crow eras.

During the Civil War, philanthropic organizations turned to photography as a funding strategy for their relief efforts among “contrabands of war,” or self-liberated African Americans who lived as refugees in federally occupied areas. The inexpensive nature of cartes-de-visite (cdv) contributed to not only the democratization of the technology but allowed for mass production and circulation, allowing it to provide a means of fundraising for educational initiatives for the children who comprised freedom’s first generation. According to historian Mary Niall Mitchell, African American children and their education “represented the possibility of a future dramatically different from the past, a future in which black Americans might have access to the same privileges as whites: landownership, equality, autonomy.”3

Taken in a New York City photography studio, the carte-de-visite series of liberated Louisiana children best exemplifies the wartime Black educational philanthropy. The former so-called white slaves of New Orleans—very light-skinned enslaved children—and the similarly white-appearing Fannie Virginia Casseopia Lawrence of Virginia in particular became the face of Black educational philanthropy. Their photographic images supported the education and relief efforts of other liberated African American children and adults. Charles Paxson, a white New York City photographer and one of several who photographed these children, created a vision of emancipation with a series of ten cartes-de-visite of these liberated Louisianans. The National Freedmen’s Relief Association sold the individual photographs featuring the children in various poses, groupings, and separately for twenty-five cents each. Coverage in Harper Weekly’s expanded the market for the fundraising campaign.4

The existence of enslaved light-skinned children such as Rebecca Huger, Charlie Taylor, and Rosina Downs challenged most northern white Americans’ understandings of race and slavery. Without mention of their status and race, their photographic likeness played with viewers’ ability “to see blackness.”5 Slavery encouraged white men’s sexual exploitation of Black women and produced children representing the tapestry of skin complexions. During the war, federal forces liberated these enslaved children. Military officials and northern missionaries provided them with an education, clothing, and other necessities. However, the photographs suggested that without a federal victory and financial support, the children’s fate remained unclear.6

Through consumerism as philanthropy, white northern and some Black northern purchasers showed their patriotism to the federal cause. White purchasers hoped that their altruism would help to secure the schooling necessary for a more successful transition from slavery to freedom in the conquered areas. In short, they saw emancipation as the possible end of unskilled servile agricultural futures for these liberated children. Through education, these children’s futures could include their entry into a new southern Black middle class of wage earners and homemakers. By becoming consumer-philanthropists, white and some Black northerners who purchased the photographs hoped to shape these liberated enslaved children’s futures.7 Between the national fundraising tour, photographs, and media coverage, the Department of the Gulf (one of the wartime Reconstruction-era military districts), the American Missionary Association, and the National Freedmen’s Relief Association pulled on the heartstrings and purse-strings of a northern war-weary public. “The photographic campaign was,” according to Mitchell, “it seems, a renewed call to arms.”8 And it worked for shifting white public opinion about Black schooling.

The use of photography as Black educational philanthropy was not confined to New Orleans, as the example of wartime images taken of Fannie Ayers of Virginia shows. Born to an enslaved mother and her enslaver, Fannie Ayers’s childhood was one of turmoil. Her father’s death left her in the guardianship of her white grandmother. The Civil War and her grandmother’s death again disrupted her life. After moving to federally occupied Alexandria, Virginia, as a refugee, she and her sisters encountered Catherine S. Lawrence, a white army nurse.9 As Ayers was perceived as lacking family, Lawrence became her surrogate parent. Ayers also adopted Catherine Lawrence’s surname. Even so, Fannie Lawrence remained vulnerable. She most likely felt compelled to participate in the photography campaign. It is not clear whether she consented to these demands of her benefactor. She endured until leaving Catherine Lawrence’s household on her own terms. She married, but the marriage failed, causing Fanny to become a single mother. While few details survive, she persisted without returning to Catherine Lawrence’s household. In 1904, her so-called “savior” died in poverty. The surviving wartime photographs continued to shape the narrative of Fanny Lawrence’s life.10

Figure 1.

Charles Paxson, Rebecca, Charley and Rosa, Slave Children from New Orleans, 1864, cdv. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

Figure 1.

Charles Paxson, Rebecca, Charley and Rosa, Slave Children from New Orleans, 1864, cdv. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

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By incorporating these well-known examples in Civil War visual culture in my classes, I provide students an opportunity to analyze the object and not simply a digital scan projected on a screen. For example, students conduct a close reading of the fourth image in the Paxson series intended for a white northern consumer market.11 Handwritten additions on the image provide students with insights into the original purchaser of the image. The unknown consumer-philanthropist annotated in pencil details about the three youth. In order of appearance, the individual noted: “Rebecca Huger – daughter of Gen. Huger of Confederate Army – aged 10 years –” above the No. 4 on the back. Above the photographer’s name appeared the following annotation: “Charlie Taylor – son of a New Orleans Lawyer – aged 7 years”; while “Rosina – daughter of a Planter – aged 7 years” appeared in between the city of the photography studio and the address where additional photographs supporting “the education of Colored People in the department of the Gulf” could be ordered. Although Harper Weekly’s gave detailed biographies of the three youth in its January 30, 1864, issue, the unknown individual crafted her own understandings of the three life stories that most likely inspired the purchase.12 These annotations and the purchase itself revealed that wartime African American education proved a worthwhile charitable contribution for the unknown formerly enslaved individuals. For the consumer, it was worth giving money to the cause.

Students are typically surprised by the actual size of the objects. Cartes-de-visite are roughly the size of baseball cards. Their conditions, including additions of tax stamps, handwritten annotations, and general wear, reveal the original intent. Whether at a fundraising event or photography studio, consumer-philanthropists purchased these objects knowing that proceeds supported educational efforts of the Black children featured and others who were in a similar situation. Some made notes for their own remembrance. Their consumerism helped to advance African American education as an acceptable Civil War outcome and benefit of emancipation. The consumer-philanthropists’ interests and actual sales encouraged more consistent financial support in collaboration with southern African American communities, northern philanthropic associations, and federal officials.

Black education became a defining success of Reconstruction. African Americans and their white allies helped to overcome the obstacles posed by intense white southern opposition to Black schooling, including real and rhetorical violence directed toward early educational reformers. Representing one of many revenue streams, sale of photographs encouraged not only more positive white public opinion but the widespread emergence of the Black southern schoolhouse in the former Confederacy. Black public schooling and education became normalized in the post-Civil War southern landscape.13

In the twenty-first century classroom, students consider the individuals featured. What were their feelings about being placed in a variety of poses in a photography studio? How did they feel about having their likeness supporting not only their education but the education of other children and adults? What benefits did they receive? Did the children give their consent? Or were they being exploited in a labor environment not too dissimilar from that experienced under slavery?

Figure 2.

Sold as a fundraiser, the 1864 cdv of Fannie Virginia Casseopia Lawrence demonstrates the competing photographic visions of emancipation. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

Figure 2.

Sold as a fundraiser, the 1864 cdv of Fannie Virginia Casseopia Lawrence demonstrates the competing photographic visions of emancipation. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

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Both photographs offer some insights into these questions. Rebecca Huger and Charley Taylor perform the expected racial script. They look directly into the camera with a naturally easy pose. In contrast, Rosina Downs, the youngest of the three, defied expectations. Her hand rested on her head. Her demeanor suggested the possibility of a tantrum during the extended photography shoot, demonstrated the manipulations of her body before the camera, and underlined the stillness required of early photography. Her body language allows for discussions of consent, age, and possible burden placed on a young child enlisted in the fundraising for wartime Black education.

Likewise, the image of Ayers titled “Redeemed in Virginia” and produced by the Renowden studio in Brooklyn, New York, shows how Catherine Lawrence dictated the composition and its description, which was purchased and then trimmed down for inclusion in an album. Unlike another Hartford, Connecticut, studio image of Fannie, the Renowden image draws attention to her white saviors. According to the caption on the Renowden image, Fannie was liberated and redeemed “By Catherine S. Lawrence. Baptized in Brooklyn, at Plymouth Church, by Henry Ward Beecher, May 1863. Fannie Virginia Casseopia Lawrence, a Redeemed SLAVE CHILD, 5 years of age.”14 Her white savior and another prominent abolitionist become the heroes of the narrative. Through their patronage, she received an education, better clothing, and possibility of a different future.15 Her body language and affect suggest otherwise. The lack of emotion and deadness of Fannie’s eyes captured her lack of consent at being an unwitting symbol. Her affect urges students to consider Fannie’s post-emancipation name, the possible limits of Black educational philanthropy, and the lived experiences of Fannie at this moment and afterwards.

Beyond photographic evidence, Rebecca, Charlie, Rosa, and Fannie remain frozen in time as objects of Black educational philanthropy. Little information of these former enslaved children exists. Students are often frustrated with the archival silences, specifically how these recipients used their education in their adult lives after the Civil War. In the classroom, these wartime Black philanthropic photographs establish a frame for understanding the later Black philanthropic photography created by early Black colleges, universities, seminaries, and teaching institutes.

From its inception, Black higher education suffered from a lack of funding. Photography and the legacy of wartime photography campaigns paved the way for creative means of addressing financial challenges. One example was the performance of Black religious music, or spirituals, primarily for white audiences. The Civil War introduced white northern audiences to this music. US Colored Troops soldiers, refugees, and wartime schoolchildren performed these songs before and after major battles, at camp church services, and at special Emancipation Day and other celebrations. Interest grew in spirituals after the Civil War, and early colleges, universities, and teaching institutions used this interest to tap into the diverse market for Black educational philanthropy. While predominantly attracting white consumers, the featured performers and institutional leaders used the white gaze to their advantage. The sale of photographic souvenirs depicting these musicians helped institutional leaders in sustaining the training of teachers, ministers, and middle-class professionals, thereby combining the precedent of selling photographs with the new interest in spirituals.16 By helping off-set expenses through the sale of images, students and graduates refashioned their education for the service of the institution and their communities. As a result, this form of Black educational philanthropy aided the larger missions and purposes of Black higher education—cultivating leaders of the race.17

Beginning with its founding in 1871, the Fisk Jubilee Singers was tasked with fundraising for its home institution, Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Fisk music professor George White, a white northern missionary, crafted the arrangements while Fisk students Ella Sheppard and Thomas Rutling spearheaded the publication of the transcribed songs.18 The group toured the nation and Europe, notably giving a private performance for England’s Queen Victoria. Photographs and other publications of the choir became popular souvenirs nationally and internationally.19 Historian Sandra Jean Graham estimated that the initial group “reached audiences in the millions—through their performances, publications, and the countless newspaper reviews and articles they inspired over the course of their six-and-a-half-year career.”20 The Fisk singers established the model. Hampton Institute, Fairfield Institute, and other schools followed suit.21

Choirs served and continue to serve as a major source of income for Black higher education. Nearly all early institutions had a traveling choir. Based on the Fisk model, the money generated paid for the tour itself and supplemented the funding of institutional operations.22 Further, fundraising tours across the United States and Europe offered opportunities for using photography for advancing educational philanthropy. Through multi-stop tours, consumers of the music and photographic souvenirs reimagined and expanded Black educational philanthropy of the previous era of contraband photography.

For classroom discussions of these phenomena, students examine two contrasting photographic images. The first is a worn, creased cdv featuring the Fisk Jubilee Singers on tour circa 1880 with an advertising imprint on the back. The other is a cdv of the Carolina Singers, the choir of the Fairfield Normal Institute in Winnsboro, South Carolina. Both were produced by the same Philadelphia photography studio.23 Students compare the later Fisk Jubilee Singers tour cdv with other photographs and printed accounts from the group’s well-documented tour of the early 1870s. Such comparison helps them discern how the later tour applied lessons from the first iteration. Moreover, they note the use of a Philadelphia photography studio instead of a Nashville location used ten years earlier.24 This comparison encouraged conversations about the possible decision-making process for the change. Student discussions also gravitate to the overall condition of the cdv, specifically the faded nature of the image and prominent crease in the middle, and speculate on the post-purchase history. When paired with the second photograph of another traveling choir, other questions and logical conclusions arise regarding studio reputation, possible consumer as philanthropist, and possible revenue generated from the sales.

Figure 3.

Sold as a souvenir for their fundraising tour, this cdv of the Fisk Jubilee Singers raised money for the Tennessee HBCU. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

Figure 3.

Sold as a souvenir for their fundraising tour, this cdv of the Fisk Jubilee Singers raised money for the Tennessee HBCU. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

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The Carolina Singers photograph enabled discussions regarding how the success of the Fisk Jubilee Singers inspired other institutions. In 1869, the Presbyterian Church established Fairfield Institute as an African American teacher-training school with a grade school attached for the student practicum. Administrators quickly founded a choir for fundraising purposes. Following the Fisk model, the choir formed and embarked on its first fundraising tour over the 1872–73 winter break. During its tour across northern states, the group posed for the cdv souvenir photograph in a Philadelphia studio.25 The group sold both the image and a published songbook of the slave spirituals performed on the tour to willing buyers. According to the title page of one of several songbooks created for the tour, the enrolled Fairfield Normal Institute students’ mission was “to raise funds to meet their pressing wants. They sing the weird songs of the colored people, as they learned them in the days of slavery. Written for the First Time, From Memory, By the Carolina Singers.”26 Without the unknown purchaser’s annotation, the identity of the choir and its connections to the Fairfield Institute would have remained unknown or misidentified as the more well-known Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Figure 4.

In contrast to the well-known Fisk Jubilee Singers, this cdv of the Fairfield Institute’s Carolina Singers demonstrate how other HBCUs embraced this form of Black educational philanthropy. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

Figure 4.

In contrast to the well-known Fisk Jubilee Singers, this cdv of the Fairfield Institute’s Carolina Singers demonstrate how other HBCUs embraced this form of Black educational philanthropy. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

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Again, both photographic examples encourage students to raise questions of consent and resistance. Some choirs balked at the continued performance of slave spirituals for nostalgic white audiences. During the 1920s, Fisk University students rebelled at the singing of these songs. This was one of the sources of discontent that led to student protest and the ousting of the university president.27 Others saw it as a promotion of African American folkways and a furthering of cultural appreciation. Many choirs would eventually adapt their repertoires. Conversations about these issues add to student comprehension and allow for deeper engagement with the archival record.28

Not all photography supported the white gaze and consumerism. Real photo postcards (RPPC) of early campus buildings and interior spaces allowed students, alumni, and visitors to support institutions of higher education on their own terms. In terms of costs, these RPPCs proved quite inexpensive and further democratized photographic technology. In this way, the medium allowed increased access to purchase, expanding the ability to financially support Black higher education beyond the white industrialists and missionary associations invested in Black education.29 Students’ conversations surrounding Allen Normal School and Wiley College RPPCs focus on the evolution of Black educational philanthropy through photography in the early twentieth century. Unlike the contraband and choir cdvs, these images were created for and purchased by Black consumers.

Alumni of Black universities and institutes used these postcards for their own ends. For example, purchasing a postcard with a photograph of an Allen Normal and Industrial School building on the front, K. L. Hamilton used her consumer-philanthropy for sustaining a relationship with another graduate. Both attended the Thomasville, Georgia, school established by the American Missionary Association (AMA) after receiving a large donation from Mrs. F. L. Allen in 1885. Like other AMA schools of the era, the school trained teachers and offered an industrial model of education in its practice school.30 By purchasing the postcard, Hamilton contributed to the institution, which suffered from funding challenges before closing during the Great Depression. The detailed message on the back of the postcard suggests her rationale for doing so:

I suppose you have begun to think that you are forgotten. Not so dear. How are you? Well I trust, also your husband. I am sure I would like so much to see you. Our school closes this week, then my rest for the summer begins. If you were not so far way, I’d take to visit you this summer, but it is too far to walk.31

Figure 5.

A RPPC postcard of Allen Normal and Industrial Institute connected alumnae while fundraising for their alma mater. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

Figure 5.

A RPPC postcard of Allen Normal and Industrial Institute connected alumnae while fundraising for their alma mater. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

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As beneficiaries of Mrs. Allen’s gift and other philanthropy, the women fulfilled the institution’s mission by becoming an educator and productive homemaker respectively. Instead of engaging in a feel-good charitable act, Hamilton used the postcard to share end-of-the-academic school year news to her married classmate while expressing frustration at not being able to make an extended summer visit to Washington state. Distance might have prevented an in-person visit, but through Black educational philanthropy and a postal stamp, Hamilton sustained her personal alumnae network of Allen Normal and Industrial School graduates. Her motivations signal a difference from earlier, primarily white, consumer-philanthropists. Consistent with other Black women’s philanthropy, this example highlights the broad range of charitable work for racial uplift. Specifically, Hamilton’s choice of a RPPC created for and by African Americans reflected a source of pride in her alma mater and ability to financially contribute to its success through consumerism.32

By the early twentieth century, HBCUs used RPPCs for directly targeting potential donors. My students explore one example from Wiley College’s 1922 campaign. The Marshall, Texas, institution targeted potential consumer-philanthropists with a carefully scripted message on the back of the RPPC. Addressing all “Friends in the Sunday School,” publicists promoted Wiley College as an exceptional institution “of the Negroes for the Negroes, by the Negroes.”33 It went on to assert, “People may tell you that every educated Negro is an ‘exception’ to the rule of the racebut look at this picture of a college chapel packed full of ‘exceptions’!” If recipients had any doubt, the photograph on the opposing side suggested that the school cultivated race men and women. Moreover, the promoters reminded consumers that education had allowed for the racial progress seen in the photograph, but continued to require additional financial supporters by willing donors. Suggesting that any donation would be welcomed, the short message closed: “When their education is complete what service they will render to the New America.” The address indicates that Miss Elsie Duggleby received the postcard, postmarked September 12, 1922.

By presenting Black educational success in photographs, Wiley College publicists and would-be consumer-philanthropists challenged prevailing contemporary images of African Americansthose in lynching photography and criminal mugshots. Here instead, publicists presented African Americans as scholars rather than as lynching victims. The crowd of well-dressed, college age Black students listening intently to the speaker on the platform replaced that of white mobs gleefully observing a violent public spectacle. Wiley College publicists presented messages of progress enabled by the purchaser’s philanthropy. By mailing the postcard to Miss Elsie Duggleby, postal carriers would not become witnesses nor deliverers of lynching souvenirs but instead of records of Black progress.34

Figure 6.

Wiley College administrators turned to RPPCs for soliciting donations for their educational efforts. For this campaign, they combined interior classroom settings with crafted specific messages in a direct mailing to potential consumer-philanthropists. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

Figure 6.

Wiley College administrators turned to RPPCs for soliciting donations for their educational efforts. For this campaign, they combined interior classroom settings with crafted specific messages in a direct mailing to potential consumer-philanthropists. (Courtesy of author’s personal collection)

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For students today, this Black educational philanthropy afforded the opportunity to see the fullness of Black life and resistance in the Jim Crow era. Instead of seeing only oppressed victims, students understood the schools as havens teaching fugitive pedagogy and cultivating networks of race men and women in the United States and abroad.35 These lessons about Black empowerment, the complex legacies of emancipation, and changes in consumer-philanthropy become clearer through the study of these objects. The sale of the postcards represented one of the many revenue streams necessary for the survival of these essential institutions. Black educational philanthropy had its limits. Neither narratives of progress nor the institutions who benefitted could eliminate the reality of violence and white supremacy of the era. Whether as students posed in front of a camera or alumni maintaining their networks, these contradictions remained.36 Black consumer-philanthropists, however, saw the schools as vital in their preparation to challenge the violent white supremacist logics in their post-graduation lives. Thus, they helped to sustain the schools by any means possible. Even under the white gaze of funders, industrialists, and interested spectators, these images still held a form of subversion for African American audiences.37

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Some readers interested in using these images in their classrooms might not have personal collections, but could draw on their institutional repositories or known digital collections. Whether cdvs or RPPCs, photography complicates narratives of African American photography. Rosenwald, Slater, and Jeanes funding co-existed alongside a broad range of African American philanthropy. Collectively, these white and Black consumer-philanthropists enabled the persistence and continued growth of African American education after the Civil War. Individual motivations, irrespective of race, show a diversity of visions for the role of education for advancing citizenship and racial progress since emancipation. Ordinary consumer-philanthropists, large funders, and African Americans saw value in the work and felt compelled to support the educational initiatives financially. Ultimately, the materiality and content of the historic photographs reflect a rhetoric of hope which allowed for perseverance and survival during the post-Reconstruction era. African Americans and diverse consumer-philanthropists remained committed to continuing the upward trajectory of former enslaved Americans from chattel and quasi-free to full American citizens. In this regard, teaching Black educational philanthropy through photography demonstrates an important component of African American schooling, the legacy of emancipation, and philanthropy from the Civil War to early Jim Crow era.


Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer, Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013), 3.


See Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Enduring Truths: Sojourner’s Shadows and Substance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier, Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrative Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American (New York: Liveright Publishing Company, 2015); Jasmine Nichole Cobb, Picturing Freedom: Remaking Black Visuality in the Early Nineteenth Century (New York: New York University Press, 2015); Aston Gonzalez, Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020).


Mary Niall Mitchell, Raising Freedom’s Children: Black Children and Visions of the Future After Slavery (New York: New York University Press, 2008), 5.


C. C. Leigh, “Emancipated Slaves White and Colored,” Harper’s Weekly, January 30, 1864, 56–57.


Mitchell, Raising Freedom’s Children, 1.


Mitchell, Raising Freedom’s Children, 2–4.


Mitchell, Raising Freedom’s Children, 5.


Mary Niall Mitchell, “The Young Faces of Slavery,” New York Times, January 30, 2014.


Richard Leisenring Jr., “Philanthropic Photographs: Fundraising During and After the Civil War,” Military Images 36, no. 2 (Spring 2018): 50.


Leisenring, “Philanthropic Photographs,” 50.


Charles Paxson, Rebecca, Charley and Rosa, Slave Children from New Orleans, 1864, cdv, author’s personal collection.


Leigh, “Emancipated Slaves White and Colored.”


W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880 (1935; New York: The Free Press, 1998), 637; James Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 432; Heather Williams, Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 8095, 174200.


R. S. DeLamater, Fannie Virginia Casseopia Lawrence, 1864, cdv and Renowden, Redeemed in Virginia, 1864, cdv, author’s personal collection.


Mitchell, Raising Freedom’s Child, 8186.


Sandra Jean Graham, Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2018), xii, 913.


Sarah H. Case, Leaders of Their Race: Educating Black and White Women in the New South (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017), 13.


Graham, Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry, 48–81.


Graham, Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry, 32–46.


Graham, Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry, xii.


Graham, Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry, xiii, 84–116.


Graham surveyed the touring Jubilee groups created using the Fisk model, including the Carolina Singers. For the full listing, see Graham, Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry, 117–19.


Hovey, Fisk Jubilee Singers, ca. 1880, cdv and Hovey, Carolina Singers (Fairfield Normal Institute), 1873, cdv, author’s personal collection.


James Wallace Black, Jubilee Singers, Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn., ca. 1870–1880, cdv, Library of Congress, Washington DC,


Hovey, Carolina Singers (Fairfield Normal Institute), cdv; “Fairfield Institute/Kelly Miller,” 1985, The Historical Marker Database,


Christine Rutledge, Spirituelles, Unwritten Songs of South Carolina Sung by the Carolina Singers During Their Campaigns in the North in 18721873, Written for the First Time, From Memory, By Christine Rutledge (Philadelphia: H. L. Acker, 1873); Quoted in Eileen Southern and Josephine Wright, African-American Traditions in Song, Sermon, Tale, and Dance, 1600s1920: An Annotated Bibliography of Literature, Collections, and Artworks (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 147.


Raymond Wolters, The New Negro on Campus (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975), 37–39, 47–63.


Graham, Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry, 256–63.


For the continued role of white industrialists and missionary associations in late nineteenth century United States, see Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 238–78.


Miss K. L. Hamilton to Mrs. P. B. Barrow, real photo postcard, May 29, 1913, author’s personal collection; William N. Hartshorn, Era of Progress and Promise, 18631910: The Religious, Moral, and Educational Development Of the American Negro Since His Emancipation (Boston: Priscilla Publishing Co., 1910), 165; “Allen Normal and Industrial Schools (Thomasville, Ga.),” American Missionary Association Archives, Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.


Hamilton to Barrow.


Tyrone McKinley Freeman, Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy During Jim Crow (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2020), 88–104, 124–29; The careers and network building of the correspondents also reflect other Black alumnae. See Case, Leaders of Their Race, 101–24.


Wiley College to Elsie Duggleby, real photo postcard, September 12, 1922, author’s personal collection.


See Leigh Raiford, Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 36–60; Amy Louise Wood, Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 18901940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 71–111, 179–221; Courtney R. Baker, Humane Insight: Looking at Images of African American Suffering and Death (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 35–68; Shawn Michelle Smith, “‘Looking at One’s Self through the Eyes of Others’: W. E. B. DuBois’s Photographs for the Paris Exposition of 1900,” in Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity, ed. Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012), 274–86.


Jarvis Givens, Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2021), 10–16; Kimberly D. Hill, A Higher Mission: The Careers of Alonzo and Althea Brown Edmiston in Central Africa (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2020), 79–103; Case, Leaders of Their Race, 84–86, 112–16.


See Laura Wexler, Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in An Age of U.S. Imperialism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 130–33, 148, 175–76; Smith, “Looking at One’s Self through the Eyes of Others,” 288–89.


Ray Saperstein, “Out from Behind the Mask: Paul Laurence Dunbar, the Hampton Institute Camera Club, and Photographic Performance of Identity,” in Wallace and Smith, Pictures and Progress, 169–75; Smith, “Looking at One’s Self through the Eyes of Others,” 288–89.