Albert Nuckols: Two Views

We close out Black History Month 2024 with a comparison of two images of Davenporter Albert Nuckols (d. 1889). The first, dating from 1868 to 1870, conveys the Reconstruction hope for the participation of newly-enfranchised African Americans into United States politics and society. [1] The second [2], from 1922, is typical of the negative stereotypes of black people that became more and more pervasive in our visual culture as the Jim Crow era descended and white supremacist ideology strengthened. [3]

(posted by Katie)

[1] Ambrotype image by photographer Isaac A. Wetherby reproduced on page 187 of Leslie A. Schwalm’s Emancipation’s Diaspora: Race and Reconstruction in the Upper Midwest (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009). The original is in the Isaac A. Wetherby Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.

[2] Purcell, W. L. Them Was the Good Old Days in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa (Davenport, Iowa: Purcell Printing Company, 1922), page 147.

[3] As argued by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in his Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow (New York: Penguin Press, 2019).

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