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About the work

curationist logoCurationist Object Description
J. A. Palmer was an Irish-born photographer living in the American South. After serving in the Union Army he relocated to Aiken, South Carolina. There he produced his Aiken and Vicinity series, which documented life during and after Reconstruction.

Palmer was one of few white photographers focused on African American people in the South, however many of his images carried racial bias. In this photo of a Black family in Aiken, Mrs. Whitaker nurses an infant on a porch where her ten other children sit. On the backside of the card, a handwritten note on the label remarks, “The way the Negro race is dying out”. This mindset is in great contrast to the self-authored portraits of free Black Americans also popular at the time.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Object Description

An albumen print mounted on a stereograph-sized card mount depicting a woman identified as Mrs. Whitaker and eleven (11) children. They are all siting on a wooden porch outside of a wooden building and looking at the camera. The two eldest children sit at the left frame on one side of a post, while the rest of the children sit in a row on the other side of the post. Mrs. Whitaker sits in a chair behind the long row of children nursing an infant. The image is mounted on orange cardboard that is pale pink on the reverse. A yellow paper label is adhered at the verso center with handwritten and printed text in black ink identifying the photographer, ...

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