Images of ‘Black life, Black joy,’ are immortalized in historic Charlottesville portraits

The University of Virginia’s Holsinger Studio Portrait Project is currently on exhibit, showcasing portraits of Black Charlottesville residents from the Jim Crow era. The goal, head curator John Edwin Mason said, is to show a side of Black history that is often ignored in retellings.

“We have not learned about Black life, Black joy, Black family, Black churches, Black schools, Black politics, Black style. All of those things have been in the background,” he said. “And through these portraits, we’re bringing them into the foreground.”

This video was produced by Casey Kuhn, Rachel Liesendahl, Nicole Ellis, Yasmeen Alamiri and Julia Griffin. Graphics by Megan McGrew. Portraits provided by the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. Other video courtesy University of Virginia, Virginia Public Media and Maupintown Media.

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