The Junck Colloquium with Berkley Hudson will occur on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the Freedom Forum Conference Center from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Photo by Pruitt: Trouble & Resilience in the American South
From 1915 to 1960, photographer O.N. Pruitt documented of his postage stamp of soil around Columbus, Mississippi, where race, class and gender mattered greatly.
Today, more than 88,000 Pruitt negatives remain. A visual history of inequality, the images depict the joys and sorrows along with community celebrations and traditions of everyday folk—black and white alike: family picnics, river baptisms, carnivals, fires, tornadoes and even two of the last public executions by hanging in Mississippi as well as the 1935 illegal lynching of two African American farmers.
By photographing the familial and communal, sacred and profane, Pruitt shows us a broad range of life filtered through his perspective, that of a white man in a racially segregated society. The Pruitt images illuminate a culture, a history and a past in ways unlike other photographic collections or even written documents such as dairies, journals, letters or newspapers specific to the region.
For more than three decades, Dr. Berkley Hudson, a University of Missouri associate professor and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate (Ph.D. 2003), has worked with the Pruitt archive, now housed in Wilson Library’s Southern Historical Collection. He will outline his efforts to preserve, archive, research, exhibit and publish the Pruitt images.
Dr. William Ferris, UNC emeritus professor and former chairman of the National Endowment of Humanities, describes the Pruitt archive as “a national treasure.”