Baylor’s Texas Collection Presents African-American Photo Exhibit

Aug. 12, 2016
Tx Collection posterBaylor's Texas Collection will host a free, public reception featuring their new African-American photography exhibit, "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives," on Aug. 18. (Photo courtesy of Carl Flynn)

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Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (Aug. 12, 2016) — Baylor University’s Texas Collection will host a public reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, on the first floor of Carroll Library in celebration of its new African-American photo exhibit, “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.”

The exhibit will feature 28 black-and-white photographs taken between 1894 and 1975 by noted photographers Fred Gildersleeve, Fred Marlar and Russell Lee. The photos highlight men and women from a variety of fields, including education, athletics, agriculture, entertainment, industry, business, politics, medicine and law. The earliest photo shows seven men graduating from medical school, and the most recent photo is a silver gelatin print of Oscar DuConge, Waco’s first black mayor.

“Everyone, regardless of age, loves a story,” said John Wilson, associate dean for special libraries and director of the Texas Collection. “These incredible photographs taken from several of our archival collections are a brief moment in the lives of African-Americans in Texas. Their stories are rich and inspiring. These images illustrate the depth and diversity of African-American culture in Texas. These men and women were professionals and laborers all trying to make better lives for themselves and their families.”

“Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives” was initiated in 2012, when officials began processing the Farmers Improvement Society collection, a series of manuscripts, financial papers, photographs, legal documents and other printed materials dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2016, after examining 17 other African-American collections, a five-member committee was assembled to choose the photographs that “best represented the lives and accomplishments of African-Americans in Texas,” according to the Baylor University Libraries website.

“One of the primary goals of this exhibition is to attract new donations of African-American archives and to build bridges into the African-American community,” Wilson said.

The reception is free and open to the public and will feature music by rhythm and blues legend Classie Ballou. The exhibit will be on display in Carroll Library from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, through December. Carroll Library can be found at 1429 S. 5th St., Waco, Texas.

by Karyn Simpson, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Baylor University Libraries support excellence in teaching and learning, enhance research and discovery, and foster scholarship and success. Through its Central Libraries and special collections – Armstrong Browning Library, W.R. Poage Legislative Library and The Texas Collection – the Libraries serve as academic life centers that provide scholarly resources and technological innovation for the Baylor community and beyond.

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