The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Rev. L. O. Taylor collection
Repository: Center for Southern Folklore
Collection Description (Extant): Of his own volition, photographer, filmmaker, and oral historian Rev. L.O. Taylor (1899 - 1977) single-handedly documented the African American community in Memphis, Tennessee from the 1920s through the 1960s. Capturing what is rarely seen in public documents from those decades, Rev. Taylor's work shows African American life in the South immediately preceding the struggle for Civil Rights.
Images and sounds, ranging from individual faces and voices to street scenes, church and secular life, social functions, and emerging businesses are the singular threads woven together to create Rev. Taylor's complex tapestry. Like a southern James Van Der Zee, Rev. Taylor documented a changing era, dominated by the rise of the National Baptist Convention and the birth of gospel music, as well as newfound African American enterprises, emerging neighborhoods and the work of such religious leaders as Mrs. Lucie Eddie Campbell (Williams) and Rev. William Herbert Brewster.
With films depicting baptisms, parades, business openings, church services and still photographs documenting community activities and home life, Rev. Taylor summarized the fabric of daily life in his time. His lacquer disc recordings give voice to all those photographs, encapsulating the sounds of worship with sermons and songs, community meetings and events of daily life in the community.
Collection URL: http://www.southernfolklore.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=114&Itemid=377
Digital Status: Partial
Extent: 30,000 feet (15 hours) of color and black-and-white film; 7,000 nitrate and safety negatives; 500 prints; 100 78 rpm lacquer discs; manuscripts
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African American churches
African Americans--Civil rights--Tennessee