Sunday, July 22, 2012

Every Photo Tells a Story

My dad was born on July 22, 1926. Today would've been his 86th birthday but he died of heart disease in 1983 at the young age of 57. Yes, I miss my dad. I was very close to him---much closer to him than I am my mother, who is still alive, but that's not what this blog post is about.

This blog is about the photo you see to the left. It was my dad's high school graduation picture---taken in 1944. I never saw this picture until after my father passed away because he apparently never kept a copy or it was lost somewhere. But I do recall him telling me the story behind the photograph.

The photographer who was originally hired to take the pictures of the graduating class backed out when he discovered he was photographing "negroes." According to my dad, one of the students in his class went home and told his dad about the situation and his dad made arrangements with the school to take the graduation photos. This dad was a farmer who apparently had an interest in photography but couldn't get any steady work in the field because of his race.

He proceeded to take pictures of the graduating class---all 19 of them. My dad says he doesn't know if the school paid him for his services but he remembers his mother (my grandmother) sending him to school with some change to give the school when he picked up his picture.

Had it not been for this unknown photographer, I probably would've thought my dad never graduated from high school.

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