Snapshots of African American Communities

African American couple standing in front of a car, circa 1926

To celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of American History presents a special display of 25 photographs that reflect the diversity of the African American experience. The photos come from two collections in the Museum's Archives Center that depict special occasions and everyday life in African American communities: the Scurlock Studio Collection and the Fournet Drug Store.

The Washington, D.C., based Scurlock Studio Collection includes the work of Addison Scurlock and his sons, Robert and George, who documented not only graduations and weddings but also significant community events over a period of 90 years. The family-owned Fournet Drug Store in St. Martinsville, La. was a multi-generation business with an African American clientele that closed in 1984. The collection includes photos from the 1940s-1970s, mostly black-and-white and some hand colored, that were never retrieved by customers.

Six of the photos in the exhibit were chosen with the assistance of the public in an online polling activity.