National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
The Afro-American Historical Family Record is both a personal genealogical chart and a proud pictorial history of African American advancement. Beneath symbols of national government, vignettes of an antebellum slave auction, cotton picking, and poor schools and housing on the left are contrasted with postwar scenes of free communities, industrial jobs, and prosperous schools and homes on the right. The two scenes at the bottom depict black regiments serving in Cuba during the Spanish American War. But portraiture of specific individuals plays an important role as well. Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, educator Lucy C. Laney, and lawyer Judson Lyons are grouped with PresidentsWashington and Lincoln. Beneath the space designed for recording personal family records are ten more prominent educators, writers, editors, entertainers, and political and religious leaders, illustrating an impressive degree of accomplishment for the first post-slavery generation.