Through the lens of historic photographs, we learn a story of African American history. Today, African Americans in United States agriculture are virtually non-existent, and in a world of mechanized industrial farming, it is easy to forget the hands-on physical labor required in the past. The rich historical resources at The Henry Ford help us learn about the African American farm families who labored in forests and fields. Their hard work helped meet consumer demand during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Curator of Agriculture and the Environment Debra Reid shows stereographic views of African American farm families working in three important agricultural industries that helped satisfy consumer needs during this time: forestry, sugar, and rice.
The artifacts seen in this video are called stereographs, which are two offset photos that have three-dimensional depth when viewed through a stereoscope viewer -- similar to the View-Master of today.