Social Framework: Photographs by Marion Palfi, 1945-1960

Description

"Social Framework: Photographs by Marion Palfi, 1945-1960," is a collection of photographs taken by Marion Palfi, a member of the New York Photo League. This collection captures a diverse spectrum of the American population and daily life from the end of the Second World War to 1960.
Palfi often chose to go where other photographers either did not go, or where they could not gain access. In so doing, Palfi used her camera to study society and document people who were often "forgotten" by mainstream society, but never-the-less constituted part of the American social fabric.
Therefore, aspects of social and economic life from the mid-1940s to the 1960s that were not presented in textbooks or other media during that period, are represented in the photos. For example, the collection features African American servicemen in uniform, as well as photographs of African Americans working in a wartime factory plant.

The economic disparity in the lives of the working class is evident in images of people waiting in line for jobs at an employment office, and in images of dilapidated housing in poor neighborhoods. The daily lives of southern African Americans is captured in photos of farming, church schools, laborers, and country scenes. Evidence of the racial discrimination African Americans endured at the hands of Jim Crow are imprinted on photographs of "Whites Only" segregation signs appearing on storefronts.
In addition to Southern scenes, New York's Harlem neighborhood is also displayed prominently. Photographs of Harlem buildings and residents, as well as of building entrances, including the now defunct Sydenham Hospital, were immortalized by Palfi's lens.

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Two prominent men pictured, on the left L. Maynard Catchings, on the right Frank O. Dorey of the American Missionary Association. Verso reads: Common ground workers Left Maynard Catchings Right Frank Dorey
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A rural scene of a mule-drawn carriage driven by an African American man stopped in the center of a small town.
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Two Lincoln School alumni photographed on their farmland in Alabama. Caption reads: THEY MET AT LINCOLN SCHOOL NOW OWN THEIR OWN FARM
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Supervised by an adult, school children play on a swing set in an urban setting. Caption reads: Playground
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African American servicemen, some in Navy uniforms gather in a circle toward the end of World War II. Caption reads: In service
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Children swing on a swing set in a park in an urban setting. Caption reads: Playground
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A scene of laboring men working on a road near a yellow stop sign. Caption reads: Laborers
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An African American man in a beige fedora walking along a Harlem (N.Y.) street. Caption reads: Harlem slum
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Group of African American women seated outside an Alabama building conversing. Two men, one African American, one white are also pictured. Verso reads: Alabama
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A white laborer in work clothes using a hose to cool down objects lying on a work space while an African American laborer wearing a welding helmet looks on.
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View of the ground outside. Caption reads: Poor housing
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In the foreground, a young man with books in hand converses with a young woman. In the background, a young couple sit on the lawn under the shade of a tree. Verso reads: Dillard
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A group of young students are seated in desks arranged in a semi-circle discussing issues of the day. A young white male has the floor while other students look on and listen attentively.
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Street lamp view of Columbia University (N.Y.) library. Caption reads: Columbia Univ. 1939-1948
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Two students walking along the sidewalk toward a building on the campus of Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi. Verso reads: Tougaloo
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A portrait of an African American woman seated by a fireplace. Caption reads: Poor
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A portrait of an African American woman and a child seated near a fireplace. Caption reads: Poor
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Young African American child sweeping the front entrance and steps of a building with a broom in the South, 1945. Caption reads: Small child at work
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New York Hospital (white building), now known as the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center (E. 68th Street). Also shown is Memorial Hospital (brown building), now known as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (York Avenue between 67th and 68th Street). Caption reads: Hospital
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In a nursery school scene, smiling children surround their teacher on the campus of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Verso reads: Nursery School - Dillard University New Orleans, La.

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