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Laborer (Stevedore Longshoreman, Norfolk, Virginia), from the project The Negro in Virginia

@ Smithsonian American Art Museum


Cropped to focus on a single dockworker, Laborer (Stevedore Longshoreman, Norfolk, Virginia) shows not the labor but the waiting, which sometimes lasted for days because the men were not permitted on the pier until called to work. It is an image of both dignity and resignation. “The look says, ‘what the hell are you doing photographing me,’” remarked McNeill, “and I think it says a lot more.”African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012
Gelatin Silver Print
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase
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Smithsonian American Art Museum

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Smithsonian Institution