19th Century Black Fashion History Through Photographs Tickets

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The culture of fashion in the nineteenth century represents a completely different world when compared with today’s attitudes towards dress and individuality. Within this context, photos of African Americans from the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839 through the end of World War I present fascinating opportunities to study African Americans’ self-fashioning. When the sitters’ identities have been lost through the decades, their clothing is the only item that tells the story of who they were. In those portraits where the sitters’ names are known, intertwining the texts and textiles of their lives creates a more complete understanding of their individuality and their engagement with contemporary styles. Using sample photos of African Americans, this lecture will discuss the clothing in the images and its relationship to the current fashions.