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Picturing FaithPhotography and the Great Depression$
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Colleen McDannell

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300104301

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300104301.001.0001

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The Negro Church

The Negro Church

(p.197) 8 The Negro Church
Picturing Faith

Colleen McDannell

Yale University Press

This chapter talks about Edwin Rosskam, Russell Lee, and Lee's wife, Jean's visit to Chicago on a specific assignment. They were to take pictures of African-American life in the urban North to supplement the file's portrait of rural life in the South. The impetus behind the trip came from a project that Rosskam was coordinating with the black novelist Richard Wright. The pair had agreed to create a book that would tell the story of African Americans as they were transformed from slaves to sharecroppers to urban proletarians. Wright explained shortly after the publication of 12 Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States that the book combined words and images to document that “the development of Negro life in America parallels the development of people everywhere.” For Wright, and indeed for anyone who sought to comment on “that which is qualitative and abiding in Negro experience,” black Christian practices required attention.

Keywords:   black Christian practices, Edwin Rosskam, Russell Lee, Jean, African-American life, urban North

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