- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (October 16, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1586480928
- ISBN-13: 978-1586480929
- Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 8.4 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,286,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Separate, But Equal: The Mississippi Photographs of Henry Clay Anderson Hardcover – October 16, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
"I received my first camera when I was about nine years old," Anderson writes in one of the five essays accompanying this collection of his work. "I tried to catch pictures of people, cats, trees, houses, whatever was interesting to me as a little boy." After studying photography on the GI Bill, Anderson opened a studio in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1948. This slim volume presents 130 or so straightforward but affecting photos of a conservative, respectable, and separate African-American world during the Jim Crow years. Anderson documents children in their Sunday best, a postman, a majorette, a white-frocked girl posing next to a birthday cake with six candles, teenaged bathing beauties parading in front of a crowd, a group shot of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels ("The Greatest Colored Show on Earth") and weddings and funerals. The pictures show a way of life that, for obvious reasons, will not inspire nostalgia, but which certainly had its share of dignity and beauty. And to young would-be photographers, Anderson advised: "Try to show not the picture only, but show the person who had the ambition. And if he's showing it, he shows himself."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Anderson (1911-98), who lived through segregation and then the Civil Rights Movement, captured the experience in photographs. Taken from the 1940s to the 1960s, the 130 striking black-and-white images presented here sum up the black experience through the daily acts of Greenville, MS, residents as they march, attend church, and relax.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Mr. Anderson. It shows that not all black Mississippians in the early days were cottonpickers living on plantations. The town of Greenville has a rich history, this book gives a minor glimpse of it. I wish the photo index had of had exact names of the people in them, that would have made it even more personal and touching.
Henry Clay Anderson was a black school teacher and minister who, courtesy of the G. I. Bill, studied photography and became a professional photographer. In 1948, he established his own business, Anderson Photo Service, in Greenville, Mississippi, where he lived. For more than forty years, he would photograph moments in the lives of Greenville's black middle class community, forever freezing in time images of a rich life that paralleled those of their white counterparts in the Jim Crow South, separate but equal.
The book has one hundred and thirty of his photographs, memorializing a time long past but one that continues to haunt America today. Clifton L. Taulbert, who was raised in Mississippi in a town not far from Greenville and is the noted author of the book, "Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored", writes a poignant and moving essay in remembrance of the black denizens of Greenville, grounding the photographs in the context of the times out of which they arose. It is as if it were a walk down memory lane.
Mary Panzer, curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., writes an essay that details Mr. Anderson's photographic involvement in the early civil rights movement, when he agreed to go travel to Belzoni, Mississippi in 1955. Belzoni had been the scene of the grisly shooting of Rev. Gus Lee, a black civil rights activist who had been involved in voter registration efforts. Mr. Anderson's photographs memorialized the shooting and its aftermath, appearing in magazines such as "Jet" and "Ebony", which were well known in the black community. Ms. Panzer grounds his photographs in the political context of the time, which affirm Mr. Anderson's political commitment.
There are also two essays in Mr. Anderson's own words that are culled from two interviews conducted by Daisy Greene for the Washington County Oral History Project and by Shawn Wilson, in whom the idea for this book germinated. The book is a loving tribute to Henry Clay Anderson. His legacy of photographic images will delight and haunt those who look at them, seeing in them not only America's past but its future. This is simply a beautiful book.