Paul Henderson Photographs

Paul Henderson was a photojournalist who worked for the Afro-American newspaper and photographed civil rights activities, sports, street scenes, politicians, and countless unidentified people. Over 7,000 of his photographs are held at the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) in Baltimore, Maryland. The exhibit Paul Henderson: Baltimore’s Civil Rights Era in Photographs, ca. 1940-1960 is on display at MdHS indefinitely and the reference photos of the original negatives are available to the public in the Special Collections Department in the MdHS library. The Henderson Collection finding aid can also be found on the MdHS website.

Through Henderson’s photos, this blog asks the question, “What was life like in Maryland for the African American community during the Civil Rights Era?” Browse through the articles about people, places, and events below or the Galleries pages to get an idea.

Video info: Interview with Vernon Dobson. McKeldin-Jackson Oral History Project Collection, Maryland Historical Society, OH 8131.

Transcript:
I think it’s a false assumption that negro progress has been born on the shoulders of a few people. And this is why I shun myself and [?] the leadership role, visible leadership role when it comes to being printed up in the press as a leader. Because I think it’s a false assumption on the part of any person to believe that he or she is the leader. We are participants of a process and the process is continuing. And it never ends. And isn’t going to end until everybody’s free.

Sewing, cleaning, and pressing class at Carver Vocational School

Sewing, cleaning, and pressing class at Carver Vocational School. Paul Henderson. MdHS, HEN.01.05-025.

Sewing, cleaning, and pressing class at Carver Vocational School. Paul Henderson. MdHS, HEN.01.05-025.

Established circa 1925, George Washington Carver Vocational [Technical] High School was the first vocational center established in Baltimore that was open to black students.

Image information:

Sewing, cleaning, and pressing class at Carver Vocational School
1200-1216 West Lafayette Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland
October 1949
Paul Henderson, 1899-1988
4 in. x 5 in. acetate negative
Paul Henderson Photograph Collection, HEN.01.05-025
Maryland Historical Society

1200 West Lafayette Avenue via Google Maps:

Group portrait [NAACP lawyers with Esther McCready and others]

Group portrait [NAACP lawyers with Esther McCready and others], 1950. Paul Henderson, HEN.02.07-019.

Group portrait [NAACP lawyers with Esther McCready and others], 1950. Paul Henderson, HEN.02.07-019.

Although fully qualified, Esther McCready (third from left) was denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Nursing solely because of her skin color. Seen here with her attorneys, Thurgood Marshall (fourth from left) and Donald Gaines Murray (second from right), McCready sued the university for admission based on the argument that she was not provided “equal protection under the law” (McCready v. Byrd, 1949) and forced to pursue her education out-of-state where blacks were accepted while her white counterparts were being trained in state. On April 14, 1950, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in McCready’s favor. Also pictured: Parren Mitchell (far right).

Image information:

Group portrait [NAACP lawyers with Esther McCready and others]
1950
Paul Henderson, 1899-1988
4 in. x 5 in. acetate negative
Paul Henderson Photograph Collection, HEN.02.07-019
Maryland Historical Society

Ms. McCready was a special guest at the program that accompanied the Paul Henderson exhibition opening (February 23, 2012):

Esther McCready (third from left) speaking about her experience at the panel discussion, Seen & Heard: Maryland's Civil Rights Era in Photographs and Oral Histories.

Esther McCready (third from left) speaking about her experience at the panel discussion, Seen & Heard: Maryland’s Civil Rights Era in Photographs and Oral Histories.