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Pictures Found on a Brooklyn Street

Six years ago, Annie Correal found a discarded photo album on her Brooklyn street. It contained snapshots of a black couple in New York in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, but the notes gave little information as to their identities. She held on to the album, but as time passed, Correal knew that time was running out on finding who the pictures belonged to.

Gentrification was transforming the neighborhood — soon there might be no one left who recognized the world in these pictures. And the album was literally falling apart in my hands. If I was ever going to try to get to the bottom of it, this was the time.

I decided to uncover its story. I thought it would be simple. But chasing the album would become something of a journey, one that would take me far from present-day Brooklyn to the Jim Crow South, from a remote island in the Pacific to the packed tenements of Harlem, before returning me to Lincoln Place at another moment of great change.

Through knocking on doors, searching public records, and traveling to North Carolina, Correal pieced together the story of Etta Mae and Isaiah Taylor and their experiences in World War II, Harlem nightlife, and the changing demographics of New York City. She even found out why the album was thrown out. Read about the project and the people she found at the New York Times. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Jesse Williams)


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