skip navigation  The Library of Congress >> Research Centers
AFC Logo
The American Folklife Center
Connect with us:   Blog Blog  |  Facebook Facebook  |  Podcasts Podcasts   RSS RSS  | Video Webcasts
 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

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: External Link

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

Language: English

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American churches
African Americans--Civil rights--Tennessee
Memphis (Tenn.)


Sound recordings


  Back to Top


 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

  The Library of Congress >> Research Centers
   May 15, 2015
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:
Ask a Librarian