Photographs of Signs Enforcing Racial Discrimination

Documentation by Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Photographers

Found this illuminating collection of images – so relevant to the issues of Racism and Discrimination coming up in the national dialogue of the USA surrounding the current presidential election.

These black and white photographs bare witness to the system of segregation that was mandated all throughout American towns in the 1930’s and ’40s.

I liked this one in particular because unlike the “Whites Only” or “Colored Only” signs seen in the history books, this one says “POSITIVELY NO BEER SERVED TO INDIANS”.

This photo makes the striking point that America’s history of discrimination is not so Black and White…

Excerpt from the Library of Congress website:

“They [the photographers] were particularly encouraged to photograph billboards and signs as one indicator of such developments. Although no documentation has been found to indicate that photographers were explicitly encouraged to photograph racial discrimination signs, the collection includes a significant number of this type of image, which is rarely found in other Prints and Photographs Division collections.”

See more photos in the collection online.

PHOTO: Birney, Montana. August 1941. Marion Post Wolcott, photographer. “People who came to Saturday night dance around the bar.”

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