Hugh Mangum on Main Street Returns to the HubPosted on December 2, 2014
A very personal look at the early-20th-century American South receives an encore at the Museum of Durham History. The exhibition “Hugh Mangum on Main Street: Portraits from the Early 20th Century” re-opens December 2 at the Durham History Hub. It features photographer Hugh Mangum’s largely unknown portraits of the post-Reconstruction South.
Having already received national attention from the New York Times in 2013, the exhibition was recently featured on both the CBS Evening News and BBC News.com.
“With the recent focus by CBS and BBC following the exhibit’s initial run, we felt it was important for the community to re-experience the creativity and inclusivity of his work,” said Katie Spencer, the Museum’s executive director. “Who knows if a visitor will recognize an ancestor, and help us identify the anonymous sitters of the Mangum portraits.”
Mangum was born in Durham in 1877 and began establishing studios and working as an itinerant photographer in the early 1890s. During his career, Mangum attracted and cultivated a clientele that drew heavily from both black and white communities, a rarity for his time.
“Although the late-19th-century American South in which he worked was marked by disenfranchisement, segregation and inequality — between black and white, men and women, rich and poor — Mangum portrayed all of his sitters with candor, humor, and spirit. Each client appears as valuable as the next, no story less significant,” said curator Sarah Stacke.
Stacke, a photographer with Durham ties and now based in Brooklyn, is working on a book about Mangum’s life and work. Mangum’s images are preserved in Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
“Hugh Mangum on Main Street: Portraits from the Early 20th Century” at the History Hub, 500 W. Main St. from Tuesday, December 2 and runs through January 31, 2015. The exhibition will be in the Our Bull City area, which is curated by community members. Anyone interested in creating an exhibit should email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Our Bull City.
There is no charge for the exhibit. The Hub is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am to 5pm.