Snapshots of Character: Horace Brazelton and The Development of African American Community Identity in Jim Crow Chattanooga

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Haire, Stefanie M.
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Middle Tennessee State University
Horace Maynard Brazelton (1878-1956) was the first professional African American photographer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His work offered a service to the African American community long denied them or otherwise unobtainable due to Jim Crow policies, including de jure and de facto segregation. Photographs are treated as material culture in this dissertation, contributing to positive self-representation and identity expression for African Americans. Image and reputation were immensely important to growing middle classes regardless of race, so photography served as a tool of Black agency in the pursuit of equality before the Civil Rights Movement. What is more, Horace and his wife Hettie Brazelton (1876-1957) were public pillars of their community. They were directly involved with generating social and cultural capital in the “Big Nine” district in Chattanooga, through entrepreneurial enterprises, public and religious activities, participation in national competitions, and their resistance to the status quo. This dissertation therefore seeks to explore the lives of these two remarkable individuals and place them among the historical framework of this mid-size southern city.
American History, Black History, Horace Brazelton, Jim Crow, Photography, Public History, History, Black history, American history