African Artists

This Day in History: Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United Sates. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.


Continuing the celebration of the photographer’s birthday today, a selection of Carl Van Vechten’s  brilliant color portraits of African American performers: Billie Holiday, Geoffrey Holder, Pearl Bailey, Carmen De Lavallade, Ella Fitzgerald, Joyce Bryant, Harry Belafonte, Ethel Waters, James Earl Jones, and Blanche Dunn.