Jim Alexander photographs, 1969-2008

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Alexander, Jim, 1935 August 7-
Title: Jim Alexander photographs, 1969-2008
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1317
Extent: .5 linear foot (1 box) and 3 oversized papers boxes (OP)
Abstract:Photographs by African American photographer Jim Alexander documenting African American politicians, athletes, activists, artists, and authors.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift of and purchased from Jim Alexander in 2014. Additions were donated by and purchased from Alexander in 2016 and 2018.


[after identification of item(s)], Jim Alexander photographs, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Curator of African American Collections, Pellom McDaniels III, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in African American culture and history.


Processed by Sarah Quigley, November 2014.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Jim Alexander was born on August 7, 1935 in Waldwick, New Jersey to David Alexander and Frances James Alexander. He served in the Navy from 1952-1956; during this time he obtained his first camera and apprenticed with the base photographer in Charleston, South Carolina. It was not until 1964 when Alexander began his professional career as a freelance photographer in Ridgewood, New Jersey. In 1967, he received a certificate in business management from Rutgers University and in 1968, he earned a degree in commercial photography from the New York Institute of Photography. That same year, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Alexander began a project he calls Spirits/Martyrs/Heroes, an examination of the impact of African Americans on politics, art, and culture. He has continued to add to this project for more than forty years.

In the 1970s, Alexander worked for the Yale University School of Art and Architecture's Black Environmental Study Team; established the Freedom Arts Communications Team (FACT), a black artists' collective in New Haven, Connecticut; and eventually joined the Atlanta (Georgia) Office of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. In 1977, he became photographer in residence at the Atlanta Neighborhood Arts Center and was photographer in residence at Clark College from 1984-1990. Alexander was the first artist chosen by the city of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs as an "Atlanta Master Artist," and was given the "Artist of Distinction" award by the Paul Jones Family Fund in 2004.

Alexander is a member of the Atlanta Photography Group, Black Artists in America, National Alliance of Artists from HBCUs, and African Americans for the Arts. His photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions and can be found in the holdings of institutions such as the Smithsonian (Washington, D.C.); The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History (Atlanta, Georgia); the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa); the University of Delaware (Newark); the City of Atlanta, Fulton County, Atlanta Airport Collection (Georgia); the Hammonds House Museum (Atlanta, Georgia), and the Harvey B. Gantt Center (Charlotte, North Carolina).

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of photographs taken by Jim Alexander from 1969-2008, including images of prominent African American politicians, athletes, activists, authors, and artists. The collection contains photographs of Romare Bearden, Pearl Cleage, Angela Davis, Michael Lomax, Edwin Moses, Andrew Young, and Jean Childs Young, among others. The photographs also document significant events such as African Liberation Day in Washington, D.C. (1970s); the March for Sisterhood and Brotherhood in Forsyth County, Georgia (1987); a march in support of the Wilmington 10 (1976); a 1969 anti-apartheid rally; and a march in support of school desegregation in Boston, Massachusetts (1974). Many of the photographs were taken at the Atlanta Neighborhood Arts Center.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in alphabetical order.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Form/Genre Terms

Container List

Box Folder Content
OP1 1 Abernathy, Ralph David at signing for And the Walls Came Tumbling Down (Atlanta, Georgia), 1989 Abernathy, Ralph David at signing for
OP1 1 Alexander, Jim, self-portrait (Atlanta, Georgia), 1978
OP1 1 al-Amin, Jamil Abdullah [H. Rap Brown] and Kwame Ture [Stokley Carmichael] (Atlanta, Georgia), 1997
1 1 African Liberation Day (Washington, D.C.), 1972
1 2 African Liberation Day March (Washington, D.C.), 1974
OP1 1 Baldwin, James, Gwendolyn Brooks, and other unidentified people (Atlanta, Georgia), 1980
OP1 1 Bambara, Toni Cade and unidentified woman (Atlanta, Georgia), 1988
1 3 Bearden, Romare at the Neighborhood Arts Center (Atlanta, Georgia), 1978
1 4 Bearden, Romare at the Neighborhood Arts Center with Kerry Price, John Eaton, Michael Lomax, and Nanette Bearden (Atlanta, Georgia), 1978
OP1 2 Benu Study Group at Morehouse college, Martin Luther King, Jr. Chapel (Atlanta, Georgia), 1984
OP2 1 Billops, Camille (Atlanta, Georgia), 1990 [5 photographs]
OP3 1 Billops, Camille, art exhibit opening in LaGrange, Georiga, 2008 [35 photographs]

Photographs include James V. Hatch, Richard Long, Randall Burkett, and Wes Cochrane.

OP1 2 Bond, Julian, John Lewis and unidentified woman (Atlanta, Georgia), 1986
1 5 Boyd, Valerie at Auburn Avenue Research Library (Atlanta, Georgia), 2003
1 6 Candle in the Dark Awards: Hank Aaron, Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia), 1990
1 7 Candle in the Dark Awards: T.M. Alexander, Sr., Dr. Asa Yancey, Sr., Calvin O. Butts, Sr., Spike Lee, Asa Hilliard, Hank Aaron, and Denzel Washington, Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia), 1990
OP1 2 Carruthers, Jacob and Asa Hilliard (Atlanta, Georgia), 1989
1 8 Cleage, Pearl (Atlanta, Georgia), no date [1 of 2]
1 9 Cleage, Pearl, (Atlanta, Georgia), no date [2 of 2]
1 10 Cleage, Pearl, portrait (Atlanta, Georgia), 1979
1 11 Cleage, Pearl, seated at speaking event (Atlanta, Georgia), 1979
1 12 Cleage, Pearl and Zaron Burnett (Atlanta, Georgia), no date
1 13 Davis, Angela (New Haven, Connecticut), 1975
1 14 Davis, Angela and Nikky Finney (Atlanta, Georgia), 1985
1 15 Farrakhan, Louis (Atlanta, Georgia), 1980
OP2 2 Free Southern Theater Project reunion (New Orleans, Louisiana), 1985 [includes photographs of Tom Dent, Doris Derby, Betty Jean Jones, and John O'Neal] [11 photographs]
OP1 3 "Free the Wilmington 10" march (Wilmington, North Carolina), 1976
OP1 4 Jackson, Jesse (Atlanta, Georgia), 1986
1 16 "A Just Demand," anti-apartheid rally, Harlem (New York, New York), 1969
OP2 3 Killens, John Oliver (Atlanta, Georgia), 1981 [3 photographs]
1 17 Lawrence, Jacob (Atlanta, Georgia), no date
1 18 Lemon, Meadowlark (Atlanta, Georgia), 1982
1 19 Lomax, Michael (Atlanta, Georgia), 1993
1 20 Lomax, Michael, Nanette Bearden and Romare Bearden, viewing photographs (Atlanta, Georgia), 1978
1 21 Lomax, Michael, Nanette Bearden and Romare Bearden, walking down a hallway (Atlanta, Georgia), 1978
OP1 3 Long, Richard (Doctor) and Leslie King-Hammond (Atlanta, Georgia), 1978
OP1 3 Lovelace, Alice and Jiki Riley at the Neighborhood Arts Center (Atlanta, Georgia), 1982
1 22 March for Sisterhood and Brotherhood (Forsyth County, Georgia), 1987
1 23 March for Sisterhood and Brotherhood, Hosea Williams speaking a press conference (Forsyth County, Georgia), 1987
1 24 Moses, Edwin (Atlanta, Georgia), 1984
1 25 Moses, Edwin, barefoot (Atlanta, Georgia), 1984
1 26 Moses, Edwin, running (Atlanta, Georgia), 1984
1 27 Moses, Edwin with unidentified man (Atlanta, Georgia), 1984
OP1 3 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People offices with flyer displaying a swastika and the words "white power" on the door (New Haven, Connecticut), 1973
OP1 3 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People school desegregation march (Boston, Massachusetts), 1974
OP2 4 "Protest of the Whitney Museum's Bicentennial Exhibit which Featured No Blacks and Only One Woman" (New York, New York), 1976 [includes photographs of Benny Andrews and Richard Mayhew] [7]
1 28 Robinson, Jackie, Rachel Robinson and Mayor Bart Guida (New Haven, Connecticut), 1973
OP1 3 Run-D.M.C. (Atlanta, Georgia), 1988
OP1 4 Simon, Jewel, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones and two unidentified women (Atlanta, Georgia), no date
OP1 5 SisterLove: Louise Meriwether, Pink Gordon Lane, Johnetta Cole, Paula Giddings, Pearl Cleage, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Cade Bambara, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Mari Evans (Atlanta, Georgia), 1988
1 29 Southern Christian Leadership Conference, unidentified march, circa 1980s
OP1 5 Universal Negro Improvement Association, 125th Street, Harlem (New York, New York), 1976
1 30 Young, Andrew and Jean Childs Young, Andrew Young for Atlanta press conference (Atlanta, Georgia), 1980 [1 of 2]
1 31 Young, Andrew and Jean Childs Young, Andrew Young for Atlanta press conference (Atlanta, Georgia), 1980 [2 of 2]
OP2 5 Young, Andrew and Ossie Davis at Black Writers Tribute, Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia), 1980