Daniel S. Williams and the Art of Bearing Witness
Follow a photographer’s three-decade journey through Juneteenth and Emancipation Day celebrations.
Daniel S. Williams. Concert watchers. Houston, Texas, 1982
When I saw the festivities I immediately dropped my Black farmer project, and started photographing Emancipation celebrations. I just changed focus right away.
Daniel S. Williams. Flag Bearers. Houston, Texas, 1983
Daniel S. Williams. Titsworth Family. Paducah, Kentucky, 1982.
One of the first things that happened upon news about emancipation was that families were formed. The whole possibility and idea of family among former slaves—all of a sudden that became possible.
Daniel S. Williams. Juneteenth Parade. Houston, Texas, 1983
If you look beyond the pictures, we see Black people just being themselves.
Daniel S. Williams. Brothers. Thomaston, Georgia, 1984.
Daniel S. Williams. Thomaston King & Queen. Thomaston, Georgia, 1983
The representations of ourselves for ourselves—that’s what is invisible. We are hyper-visible when we are portrayed as the other for everyone else.
Special thanks to Daniel Williams, Megan Paulson, Peter Williams, and Kate Millard.
Explore more about Daniel S. William’s work:
Black in Appalachia - “Emancipation Day Celebrations" w/ Dr. Daniel S Williams, Greeneville, TN, 2005
Black in Appalachia - Daniel S Williams, Rio Grande, Ohio, 2017
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