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Portraits of a City: In the Community

Photo of Lichtman's Christmas Party at Northwest House, ca. 1930
Churches and church life were a cornerstone of Washington’s African American community. Scurlock photographs document a wide range of religious, social, cultural, and other organizations.

Use the links at the left to view our album of select community-life images, to browse a much larger selection of these images, or to do a focused search of scenes of community life.

Reuben Jackson's "Photo at Christmas" was inspired by the image "Lichtman's Christmas Party at Northwest House [acetate film photonegative, ca. 1930]."
View the image in greater detail in the In the Community Album.

Reflections: Photo at Christmas

Was Santa subjected to Jim Crow laws?
If so, would each anxious, assembled child
(More hues than the changing sky at sunset)
be visited only after Spring Valley and Bethesda were sated?
Or would they recieve hand-me-down soldiers,
Crippled like the physical equipment
In colored schools?

But I was 7 at the time,
More fearless than Rudolph or Robeson.

No hate-stained, bearded man
(If that were the case)
could drown the bliss of huddling beside Maureen Watson,
as the shutter clicked like new skates
kissing the ice.

Reuben Jackson


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