Saturday, October 14, 2017 – Sunday, February 25, 2018
Itinerant photographer William Bullard left behind a trove of over 5,400 glass negatives at the time of his death in 1918. Among these negatives are over 230 portraits of African Americans and Native Americans mostly from the Beaver Brook community in Worcester,MA. This exhibit features eighty of these unprinted and heretofore unpublished photographs. that otherwise may have been lost to history. Bullard's identification of over 80% of his sitters makes this collection especially rare and enables this exhibition to tell specific stories about individuals and recreate a more accurate historical context. Moreover, Bullard's portraits examine the role of photography as the vehicle for "a new Black identity" during the nascent years of the New Negro movement. Offering a photographic narrative of migration and resettlement in the aftermath of Emancipation and Reconstruction, Bullard's portraits address larger themes involving race in American history, many of which remain relevant today, notably, the story of people of color claiming their rightful place in society as well as the fundamentally American story of migration, immigration, and the creation of a community in new surroundings.