Picturing Freedom: African Americans & Their Cars
A Photographic History
by Stanley B. Burns, MD & Elizabeth A. Burns
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Pub Date 1 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 3 Oct 2022
Picturing Freedom chronicles and celebrates the photographic history of African Americans and their cars by focusing on personal images of the pride and joy of car ownership (1900-1980+). Owning a car was a significant life-changing achievement for African Americans. It offered special freedoms—freedom to travel, freedom to work further from home, freedom to visit family and friends, freedom to avoid Jim Crow laws, and freedom to migrate. The car was unequivocal evidence of Black success and an important symbol of status in a country that had long fought their advancement in every area. Car ownership was purposely and proudly photographed. All of the photographs were taken in Black communities by a family member or a friend and reveal how African Americans represented themselves.
This publication adds to the visual narrative of our culture through 272-pages and over 450 unique photographs. Accompanying the images are comprehensive histories of photography, car freedoms, and travel, as well as contributions from legendary photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. and public health advocate Gerald Deas, MD.
This 2022 IPPY award-winning book is the sixth from Elizabeth A. Burns and the fiftieth from Stanley B. Burns, MD & The Burns Archive.
“The book is amazing and the images are profound!” — Jamel Shabazz, photographer
“The book is WONDERFUL! Congratulations, not only for the publication, but for the many years of dedication to building such an amazing collection.” — Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, New Orleans Museum of Art
“Terrific book! It's just full of treasures, and I'm so pleased to have it in my personal library.” — Liz Siegel, Curator of Photography and Media, The Art Institute of Chicago
“I feel I have gone on a journey. The rhythm and pacing of the photographs, the repetition of poses, and the awesome historical sweep make for such a complete experience.” — Dalila Scruggs, Ph.D., Curator of Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
“powerful; thought-provoking and historic.” — Sekou Luke, photographer
“The pictorial history of American civil rights you never knew you needed.” — Alice Bennett, Reedsy Discovery