History is a puzzle with many pieces. For African American history, many of these pieces had been lost up until now. The Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection, formed over almost fifty years of hunting for photographs, prints, documents, and objects, has found many of those missing pieces. The result is a comprehensive, chronological “teaching collection” comprised of about 500 photographs, documents and objects that were discovered that help to tell this story. The three parts of “Black Lives in Focus” series serve as an introduction to this collection. This is the third part to share some of those discoveries and their personal history. Most have never been previously published. The years covered in Black Lives in Focus, Part III span from the 1880s and “The Rise of Jim Crow” to 2008 and the election of Barack Obama. In the collection are photographs, documents and objects from the beginning of the era of “separate but equal” and include the military contributions for the ‘Buffalo Soldiers” out West, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and Vietnam. Personalities of the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression and the continuing struggle for equality of the 1950s and 1960s are featured. Photography is a theme in the collection as it became important in the lives of African Americans, enslaved or free, soon as after its discovery. For those free, and a few who were enslaved, the photography studio was where they were free to record themselves with dignity in a manner of their choosing as they experienced this “New Birth of Freedom.” The years before the abolition of slavery and the following years of Jim Crow saw this photographic freedom grow and expand to this freedom now taken for granted since it is widely available digitally today. Featured in The Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection and on these pages are both identified and unidentified, but forgotten people from the past who have been rescued from the fog of history to now take their rightful place in the American Memory. Let your journey into rediscovering this forgotten history begin here!Included here are more of these “missing pieces” reproduced in color with their stories. Items in the collection are available for museum exhibition loan and publication.
Paperback. 139 pages. Published February 5, 2021. ISBN 979-8704664673.