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The Littlejohn and Hickman Archives: Photographs of African American Lives

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(left) Calvin Littlejohn, 1952. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0173. (right) R. C. Hickman, 1949. Hickman (R. C.) Photographic Archive, di_07761
(left) Dr. King greeting group at Love Field, Dallas, October 10, 1959. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0001. (right) Martin Luther King Jr. at Good Street Baptist Church, Dallas, April 22, 1956. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0065.
(left) Thurgood Marshall giving a speech at a NAACP convention, Dallas, July 1954. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0004. (right) NAACP officials prepare school integration suit (left to right: U. S. Tate, Thurgood Marshall, C. B. Bunkley, and W. J. Durham), Dallas, September 22, 1956. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0077.
(left) Ruth Brown singing with band at Masonic Mosque, Fort Worth, November 14, 1959. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0016. (right) Ruth Brown performing at the Ranch House, Dallas, March 1953. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0101.
(left) Part of the audience at the Lionel Hampton performance, North Side Coliseum, Fort Worth, October 12, 1948. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0023. (right) Lionel Hampton with his band, Dallas, March 12, 1953. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0115.
(left) Jackie Robinson speaking at an exhibition game, LaGrave Field, Fort Worth, Nov. 11, 1949. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0123. (right) Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks with his wife, Dallas, October 13, 1955. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0120.
(left) Pee Wee's Shoe Shop on Terrell Avenue, Fort Worth, December 29, 1959. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0152. (right) Clark's Liquor Store, Dallas, 1954. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0389.
(left) Mr. John Lillie, Little John's Bar-B-Q, Fort Worth, 1966. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0202. (right) Papa Dad's Bar-B-Que restaurant, Dallas, 1954. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0383.
(left) Mount Pisgah Baptist Church Building, Fort Worth, September 1969. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0319. (right) Good Street Baptist Church building, [Dallas], c. 1952. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0490.
(left) The Fort Worth Urban League's Red Feather Parade, Fort Worth, October 15, 1959. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0209. (right) Shriners at the Empire Room, Dallas, June 15, 1959. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0363.
(left) Whit Fry Filling Station, Fort Worth, 1949. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0142. (right) Service station owner Annie Carr Mercer, 1955. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, di_07762.
(left) Mrs. Edmonds' three children, Fort Worth, December 26, 1959. Littlejohn (Calvin) Photographic Archive, e_cl_0240. (right) Group portrait of children with book, Dallas, June 20, 1958. Hickman (R.C.) Photographic Archive, e_rch_0444.

The Briscoe Center for American History is home to the R.C. Hickman and Calvin Littlejohn collections, two important photographic archives for the study of African American and Texas history. R.C. Hickman (1922-2007) covered Dallas, Texas; Littlejohn (1909-1993) worked in Fort Worth. The photos in the slideshow document the parallel themes in the work of Littlejohn and Hickman, both of whom documented the Texas cities' dynamic African American communities in the decades following World War II.

Like other photojournalist collections at the Briscoe Center, the work of Hickman and Littlejohn present evidence for historical research, capturing a visual social history of African American life during the civil rights era. Both covered crucial moments in the struggle for civil rights, including visits by leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall. The photographers also captured celebrities and entertainers who passed through their respective towns. But their work was largely about the everyday life of their subjects: civic involvement, church life and high school homecomings, thriving businesses and family gatherings.

Barbara Jordan's statement about Hickman's work can apply to Littlejohn's as well: "Here is an historically significant record of accomplished, hard-working black middle-class citizens living in the urban South. … Overcoming the many obstacles in their way in those years before civil rights legislation made fundamental changes, [they] played and won by the rules, despite the fact that their color meant they were often denied the rights and respect due them."

For more information on the Hickman and Littlejohn collections, or to explore other photojournalist holdings at the Briscoe Center, visit