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Collection Photo, Print, Drawing African American expressive culture in Philadelphia project

About this Item


  • African American expressive culture in Philadelphia project


  • The African American Expressive Culture in Philadelphia project contains over 20,000 pictures taken at hundreds of events, encounters, and photograph sessions in Philadelphia between March 18 and November 1, 1989. The photos were part of a larger folklife project that Roland Freeman worked on with Glenn Hinson and Jerrilyn McGregory, two doctoral students at the University of Pennsylvania. Freeman served as director and photographer of the project that resulted in an exhibition at the 1989 American Folklore Society meeting in Philadelphia. The collection is particularly rich in images depicting church services, family events, and social events including festivals and parades. African American artistic culture is well represented with photos depicting music, dance, sculpture, quilting, murals, and folk art. Photos also show laborers and a variety of African American businesses including food vendors, restaurants, bars, stables, hair salons, and barber shops. The collection also includes many photos of leisure activities and sports including baseball, basketball, boxing, checkers, and Double Dutch jump rope.


  • Freeman, Roland L., 1936-

Created / Published

  • 1989.


  • -  African Americans--Arts & crafts--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Children--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Clothing & dress--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Dance--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Domestic life--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Music--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Social life--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Spiritual life--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  African Americans--Sports--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--1980-1990.
  • -  Pennsylvania


  • Contact sheets--1980-1990.
  • Dye diffusion transfer prints--1980-1990.
  • Photographic prints--1980-1990.
  • Portrait photographs--1980-1990.
  • Safety film negatives--1980-1990.


  • Contact sheets--1980-1990
  • Dye diffusion transfer prints--1980-1990
  • Photographic prints--1980-1990
  • Portrait photographs--1980-1990
  • Safety film negatives--1980-1990


  • -  Arrangement: Collection is arranged by media type into four LOTs and one negative filing series. Large format contact sheets (20 x 24 in.) are in LOT 15355. Small format contact sheets (8 1/2 x 11 in.) are in LOT 15570. Selected prints (8 x 10 in.) are in LOT 15571. Color Polaroid portraits are in LOT 15572. Negatives are processed in filing series LC-FR14.
  • -  Selections from the project, along with Freeman's commentary, were published in National Geographic (August 1990, Vol. 1, Issue 2, pp. 66-91).
  • -  The collection consists of contact sheets showing all of the images made for the project and a selection of 8 x 10 inch prints. It also includes negatives for all but the first 50 rolls Freeman made for the project. Also, there are a few negatives missing from rolls 54, 508 and 533.
  • -  The model releases are kept in the collection case file.
  • -  Purchase; Roland Freeman; 2006-2007, 2022; (DLC/PP-2006:050; DLC/PP-2022:121).
  • -  Finding aid available online


  • whole collection 20,741 items.
  • 19,713 photographs : b&w safety negatives ; sheets 3.5 and 6 cm (35 mm format and 120 format)
  • 741 photographs : gelatin silver prints ; sheets 51 x 61 cm. (20 x 24 in. contact sheet format)
  • 189 photographs : dye diffusion transfer prints ; sheets 10 x 10 cm.
  • 53 photographs : gelatin silver prints ; sheets 22 x 28 cm (8 1/2 x 11 in. contact sheet format)
  • 45 photographs : gelatin silver prints ; sheets 20 x 25 cm. (8 x 10 in. format)

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Guide Record [P&P]


Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2010646967

Rights Advisory

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress generally does not own rights to material in its collections and, therefore, cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute the material. For information about assessing rights, see the Rights and Restrictions Information page.

  • Rights Advisory: Publication may be restricted. For more information see "Rights and Restrictions Information" for Roland Freeman
  • Reproduction Number: ---
  • Call Number: Guide Record [P&P]
  • Access Advisory: ---

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  1. Is the item digitized? (A thumbnail (small) image will be visible on the left.)

    • Yes, the item is digitized. Please use the digital image in preference to requesting the original. All images can be viewed at a large size when you are in any reading room at the Library of Congress. In some cases, only thumbnail (small) images are available when you are outside the Library of Congress because the item is rights restricted or has not been evaluated for rights restrictions.
      As a preservation measure, we generally do not serve an original item when a digital image is available. If you have a compelling reason to see the original, consult with a reference librarian. (Sometimes, the original is simply too fragile to serve. For example, glass and film photographic negatives are particularly subject to damage. They are also easier to see online where they are presented as positive images.)
    • No, the item is not digitized. Please go to #2.
  2. Do the Access Advisory or Call Number fields above indicate that a non-digital surrogate exists, such as microfilm or copy prints?

    • Yes, another surrogate exists. Reference staff can direct you to this surrogate.
    • No, another surrogate does not exist. Please go to #3.
  3. If you do not see a thumbnail image or a reference to another surrogate, please fill out a call slip in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room. In many cases, the originals can be served in a few minutes. Other materials require appointments for later the same day or in the future. Reference staff can advise you in both how to fill out a call slip and when the item can be served.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Freeman, Roland L. African American expressive culture in Philadelphia project. 1989.

APA citation style:

Freeman, R. L. (1989) African American expressive culture in Philadelphia project.

MLA citation style:

Freeman, Roland L. African American expressive culture in Philadelphia project. 1989.