- Glass negatives (4x5)
- Film negatives (4x5, 35mm)
- Prints (color & b/w)
- Color slides
- Digital images
These photographs come from collections and images donated to the Center as well as many created by the Center for both documentary and presentation purposes.
They mirror our very large collection of oral narratives and
music. Musicians from all genres of music ranging from fife player to
rappers, cotton and soybean farms, river pilots, cafes and juke houses,
carnivals and festivals, drum lines and cheerleaders, gardeners and
folk artists, craftspeople and cooks represent a visual mosaic of
southern life and culture.
There are also many images that portray life in our region both every day and historic. One such collection is a number of family portraits in the late 1930s
by Mr. Blakely. Another collection was donated by Mae Walker and shows
life in the east Tennessee community of Jellico, Tennessee. The
photographs document a mine disaster that occurred in Jellico. Interviews with Ms. Walker describe the collection.
Of the Center's approximate 100,000 images there are 7,000 negatives taken by Rev. L. O. Taylor. These images show family and church portraits, parades and celebrations, business and community activities. Most images show everyday people in the community. However, prominent Memphians such as Lucie Campbell, the music director of the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, who penned such roiling gospel songs as "Touch Me, Lord Jesus" and "Jesus Gave Me Water" and Rev. William Herbert Brewster, a protege of Campbell's, who composed hymns like "Move on up a Little Higher" (the first million-dollar seller in the gospel genre) are also included.