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Photographs of Signs Enforcing Racial Discrimination:
Documentation by Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Photographers

Photographers working for the Farm Security Administration Historical Section (later transferred to the Office of War Information) were encouraged to document continuity and change in many aspects of life in America during the years the unit was in operation. They were particularly encouraged to photograph billboards and signs as one indicator of such developments. Although no documentation has been found to indicate that photographers were explicitly encouraged to photograph racial discrimination signs, the collection includes a significant number of this type of image, which is rarely found in other Prints and Photographs Division collections.

This reference aid includes all the known images of discrimination signs found in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information file of photographic prints. This list was compiled in response to frequent patron requests for such images. The list is updated as additional images are discovered.

Photographic copies of the images may be ordered through the Library of Congress Duplication Services (202-707-5640). When placing orders, the reproduction number should be cited.

The Library of Congress is unaware of any restrictions on the use of the images. For further information, see the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information/Office of Emergency Management Collection Rights and Restrictions information.


Note: The following captions are transcribed from the original caption strips.

1) Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyards, Baltimore, Maryland.
May 1943.
Arthur Siegel, photographer.
"A drinking fountain." [Sign: "White."]
Location: D-90666
Reproduction Number: LC-USW3-26442-E
[view catalog record]

A drinking fountain labeled with a sign 'White.'
1
2) Memphis, Tennessee. October 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"Secondhand clothing stores and pawn shop on Beale Street."
[Sign: "Hotel Clark, The Best Service for Colored Only."]
Location: E-2185
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-30637-M3
[view catalog record]
Secondhand clothing stores and pawn shop on Beale Street labeled with a sign: 'Hotel Clark, The Best Service for Colored Only.'
2

3) Durham, North Carolina. May 1940.
Jack Delano, photographer.
"A street scene near the bus station."
Location: E-255
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-20522-M5
[view catalog record]

A street scene near the bus station.
3
4) Durham, North Carolina. May 1940.
Jack Delano, photographer.
"At the bus station."
Location: E-5153
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-20522-M2
[view catalog record]

At the bus station.
4


5) - 11) Memphis, Tennessee. September 1943. Esther Bubley, photographer. " People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal." [All are variants of the same scene, variously captioned] [Sign: "White Waiting Room."] Location: E-5153
People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal.
5
LC-USW3-37973-E
[view catalog record]
People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal.
6
LC-USW3-37974-E
[view catalog record]
People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal.
7
LC-USW3-37975-E
[view catalog record]

People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal.
8
LC-USW3-37977-E
[view catalog record]

People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal.
9
LC-USW3-37986-E
[view catalog record]

People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal.
10
LC-USW3-38020-E
[view catalog record]
People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal.
11
LC-USZ62-87187
LC-USZ62-87397
[view catalog record]

 



12) On the way from Louisville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee. September 1943.
Esther Bubley, photographer.
" A rest stop for Greyhound bus passengers on the way from Louisville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee, with separate accommodations for colored passengers." [Sign: "Colored Dining Room in Rear."]
Location: E-5153
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-62919
[view catalog record]
A rest stop for Greyhound bus passengers on the way from Louisville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee, with separate


accommodations for colored passengers.
12

13) Rome, Georgia. September 1943.
Esther Bubley, photographer. "A sign at the Greyhound bus station."
[Sign: "Colored Waiting Room."]
Location: E-5153
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-75338
[view catalog record]

A sign at the Greyhound bus station: 'Colored Waiting Room.'
13
14) Manchester, Georgia. May 1938.
John Vachon, photographer. "A railroad station." [Signs: "Colored Waiting Room" and "Colored Men."]
Location: E-5203
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-1172-M4
[view catalog record]
A railroad station with signs: 'Colored Waiting Room' and


     'Colored Men.'
14
15) South Carolina. June 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"A highway sign advertising tourist cabins for Negroes." [Sign: "Cabins for Colored."]
Location: E-527
Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-51945-D
[view catalog record]
A highway sign advertising tourist cabins for Negroes.
15
16) Memphis, Tennessee. June 1937.
Dorothea Lange, photographer.
"A fish restaurant for Negroes in the section of the city where cotton hoers are recruited." [Sign: "Bryant's Place Hot Fish for Colored."]
Location: E-9063
Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-17593-E
[view catalog record]
A fish restaurant for Negroes in the section of the city


     where cotton hoers are recruited, includes a sign: 'Bryant's Place


     Hot Fish for Colored.'
16
17) Durham, North Carolina. May 1940.
Jack Delano, photographer.
"A cafe near the tobacco market." [Signs: Separate doors for "White" and for "Colored."]
Location: E-9064
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-20513-M2
[view catalog record]
A cafe near the tobacco market with separate doors for 'White' and for 'Colored.'
17
18) Durham, North Carolina. November 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"A cafe in the warehouse district during tobacco auction season." [Sign: Separate door for "White."]
(This is the same building and sign as in #18.)
Location: E-9064
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-30700-M1
[view catalog record]
A cafe in the warehouse district during tobacco auction season with a separate door marked 'White.'
18
19) Belle Glade (vicinity), Florida. January 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"A lunch room." [Sign: "White & Colored Served."]
Location: E-9064
Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-50500-D
[view catalog record]
A lunch room with a sign: 'White & Colored Served.'
19
20) Halifax, North Carolina. April 1938.
John Vachon, photographer.
"A drinking fountain on the county courthouse lawn." [Sign: "Colored."]
Location: E-90666
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-100414
[view catalog record]
A drinking fountain on the county courthouse lawn with a sign:


     'Colored.'
20
21) Belzoni, Mississippi, in the delta area. October 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"Negro man entering movie theater by "Colored" entrance."
[Signs: "Colored--Adm." and "White Men Only."]
Location: E-915
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-30577-M2
[view catalog record]
Negro man entering movie theater by 'Colored' entrance.
21
22) Leland, Mississippi, in the Delta area. June 1937.
Dorothea Lange, photographer.
"The Rex theater for colored people." [Sign: Rex Theater for Colored People."]
Location: E-915
Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-17417
[view catalog record]
The Rex theater for colored people.
22
23) Leland, Mississippi, in the delta area. November 1939.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"The Rex theater for Negro People." [Sign: "Rex Theater for Colored People."] (This is the same building and sign as in #23.)
Location: E-915
Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-52508-D
[view catalog record]
The Rex theater for Negro People.
23
24) Lancaster, Ohio. August 1938.
Ben Shahn, photographer.
"Sign on a restaurant." [Sign: "We Cater to White Trade only."]
Location: F-9063
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-6392-M4
[view catalog record]
Sign on a restaurant, with a sign: 'We Cater to White Trade


     only.'
24
25) Sisseton, South Dakota. September 1939.
John Vachon, photographer.
"Sign in a beer parlor window." [Sign: "No Beer sold to Indians."]
Location: G-9067
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-1661-M3
[view catalog record]
Sign in a beer parlor window, reading 'No Beer sold to


     Indians.'
25
26) Birney, Montana. August 1941.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"People who came to Saturday night dance around the bar."
[Sign: "Positively no beer sold to Indians."]
Location: G-9067
Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-58491-D
[view catalog record]
People who came to Saturday night dance around the bar, which inludes a sign: 'Positively no beer sold to Indians.'
26
27) Birney, Montana. August 1941.
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"Signs behind the bar." [Sign:"Positively no beer sold to Indians."] (This is the same sign as in #27.)
Location: G-9067
Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-58504-D
[view catalog record]
Signs behind the bar, including one that reads: 'Positively no beer sold to


     Indians.'
27
28) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. July 1939.
Russell Lee, photographer.
"Man drinking at a water cooler in the street car terminal." [Sign: "Reserved for Colored."]
Location: H-90666
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-80126
[view catalog record]
Man drinking at a water cooler in the street car terminal; sign above it reads: 'Reserved for Colored'
28
29) Waco, Texas. November 1939.
Russell Lee, photographer.
"Sign above moving picture theater." [Sign: "The Gem Theatre Exclusive Colored Theatre."]
Location: H-915
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-12498-M2
[view catalog record]
Sign above moving picture theater that reads 'The Gem Theatre


     Exclusive Colored Theatre.'
29

30) Memphis, Tennessee. October 1939(?)
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer.
"Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee." [Sign: "Rex Billiard Hall for Colored."]
Location: E-936
Reproduction Number: LC-USF33-30639-M1
[view catalog record]

Sign above billiard hall that reads 'Rex Billiard Hall for Colored.'
30
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