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Amistad Research Center - Collection Gems

The ship, Amistad, and its role in the international enslavement of African people not only gave its name to a ground-breaking Supreme Court ruling and a well-known Hollywood movie, but crucially to one of America’s most significant museums and archives of the civil rights movement and now broader social justice movements. Bridgeman Images is delighted to announce its exclusive representation of the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans. 

 

Three Dudes,1975 (lithograph on paper), Ben Jones, (b.1942) / Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA, USA / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Three Dudes,1975 (lithograph on paper), Ben Jones, (b.1942) / Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA, USA / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images

 

The Amistad Research Center was founded in 1966 as a division of the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries (UCBHM), based at Fisk University. It originated as the repository for the records of the American Missionary Association, an abolitionist missionary organization that arose from the 1841 U.S. Supreme Court Case United States v. Amistad and would go on to found hundreds of schools across the country during and following the Civil War. These schools were established for those individuals formerly enslaved in the U.S. South, but also for indigenous communities, Asian American and Latinx communities, and for rural whites in the Appalachian region.

 

Free Southern Theatre: A Valediction Without Mourning, 1965, serigraph), Martin Payton,  (b.1948) Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Free Southern Theatre: A Valediction Without Mourning, 1965, (serigraph), Martin Payton,  (b.1948) Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Sarah Has All My Heart, 2000 (mixed media collage), Ben Jones,  (b.1942) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Sarah Has All My Heart, 2000 (mixed media collage), Ben Jones,  (b.1942) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images

 

Click here to view all images from the Amistad Research Center.
 

Boys in Black Key West, Florida, c.1932 (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Boys in Black Key West, Florida, c.1932 (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images

 

Amistad Research Center: the foundation 

Founded in the midst of the civil rights movement, Amistad was the first archive to begin documenting the movement. However, its mission and collections have experienced tremendous expansion and it continues to evolve to document contemporary social justice movements. Today, ARC houses more than 1000 manuscript and archival collections from the 1790s to the present, which include over 250,000 photographs and 12,000 individual moving images and sound recordings. 

 

Ralph Ellison and Fanny McConnell, 1946 (b/w photo)  Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Ralph Ellison and Fanny McConnell, 1946 (b/w photo)  Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Portrait of Alta Douglas, 1939 (oil on canvas), Aaron Douglas, (1899-1979) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Portrait of Alta Douglas, 1939 (oil on canvas), Aaron Douglas, (1899-1979) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images


 

These collections include the personal and family papers of artists, educators, writers, business leaders, clergy, lawyers, farmers, musicians, and many others, as well as official records from civil rights organizations, businesses, schools, churches, and community groups. Amistad’s library includes 32,000 books, pamphlets, and periodicals, from popular magazines to rare volumes, newspapers, government publications, small magazines, graphic novels, and more.

 

Emerson Institute, Mobile, Alabama Faculty 1922-'23, c.1922-1923 (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Emerson Institute, Mobile, Alabama Faculty 1922-'23, (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images

 

Amistad Research Center - Fine Art Collection 

 

Amistad’s initial work with Bridgeman Images focuses on the Center’s outstanding art collection, one of the most historically significant bodies of work by African American artists, spanning from the 19th century through to the present day. It boasts an exciting array of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, now numbering over 1000. Many of the works in ARC's collection were originally gathered by the Harmon Foundation in the early to mid-20th century and deeded to the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, which donated the works to Amistad in 1983. The original UCBHM donation includes important examples from the 19th century, including the works of Edward M. Bannister, William H. Simpson and Henry O. Tanner to the burgeoning years of African American visual arts during the 20th century with the works of William Artis, Richmond Barthé, Selma Burke, Elizabeth Catlett, Claude Clark, Aaron Douglas, Malvin Gray Johnson, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, William E. Scott, Ellis Wilson and Hale Woodruff.


 

Works by Romare Bearden, Gwendolyn Bennett, John Biggers, David Driskell, Vivian Ellis, Clementine Hunter, Jules Lion, Sam Middleton, Keith Morrison, James Phillips, John T. Scott and Ellis Wilson, among others, were added to the collection over its 30-year history. In 2014, Harlem Renaissance scholar Thomas H. Wirth bequeathed to ARC over 400 works by writer and artist Richard Bruce Nugent. Believed to be the most extensive collection of works by Nugent held by an institution, it includes examples of Nugent's graphic design work for the NAACP and the printing firm House of Marr, as well as watercolors, pencil and ink sketches, charcoal drawings and oil paintings. More recent additions to the collection include works by Kesha Bruce and Senga Nengudi. The diversity of the collection is seen in additional works by white American, Indigenous, Canadian, European and Caribbean artists.


 

Beyond the Blues, 1963 (collage on paper), Sam Middleton,  (1927-2015) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Beyond the Blues, 1963 (collage on paper), Sam Middleton,  (1927-2015) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images

 

Amistad Research Center - Photographs, Moving Images and Ephemera Documenting Ethnic Communities and Civil Rights


Amistad’s collections contain moving image footage ranging from documentary films, oral history interviews, television programs, home movies, and more. Amistad’s contributions to Bridgeman will include documentary footage of civil rights activities in Mississippi, New Orleans African American Mardi Gras balls from the 1950s, campaign films of New Orleans’ first African American mayor, and a documentary on race relations and civil rights in New Orleans from the viewpoint of high school students. 
 

CORE workers making signs, 1960-69 (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
CORE workers making signs, 1960-69 (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Don't Ride City Busses, c.1960 (b/w flyer) /  Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Don't Ride City Busses, c.1960 (b/w flyer) /  Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images


Photographic holdings at Amistad document the rich ethnic tapestry of the United States, from candid snapshots of daily life to civil rights protests. Of note are photographs of African American religious life; famous authors, musicians, and artists; Ellis Island during the 1920s; and schools, churches, and community centers throughout the country.

 

Sharecropper, 1970 (color linocut), Elizabeth Catlett,  (1915-2012) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Sharecropper, 1970 (colour linocut), Elizabeth Catlett,  (1915-2012) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Untitled, 1991 (B&W Photograph), Anita McKenzie / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Untitled, 1991 (B&W Photograph), Anita McKenzie / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images


Civil rights ephemera includes broadsides, flyers, brochures and more, produced by student groups, leading civil rights organizations, and individuals, which document civil rights efforts across the United States. 

 

Dick Gregory Campaign Money, 1968 (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images
Dick Gregory Campaign Money, 1968 (b/w photo) / Courtesy of the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA / Bridgeman Images



 

Click here to view all images from the Amistad Research Center.  



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