Today’s blog was written by Dr. Tina L. Ligon, Supervisory Archivist in Textual Processing at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland
During the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsored the Documerica program that photographed subjects of environmental concern and everyday life in America. The series DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972 – 1977 (National Archives Identifier 542493) contains photographs by several well-known photographers contracted by the EPA. Some of the subjects photographed in this series include National Parks, the Great Lakes, mountains, urban areas, and air and water pollution. This series consists of 35mm color slides and black and white negatives and prints. Also, within this series are images depicting black life in Chicago during the summers of the 1970s. These images were taken by photographer John H. White.
In Chicago during the 1970s, African Americans enjoyed sun and fun at the 12th Street Beach on Lake Michigan. With the hot summers, people often cooled off at local beaches. These images showcase black Chicagoans playing on the beach, splashing in the water, and enjoying family time.
The Bud Billiken Day Parade and Picnic is an annual event to celebrate African-American life. It is held on the second Saturday in August in the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side. The parade started in 1929 and is named after a fictional character created by Robert S. Abbott the publisher and founder of the Chicago Defender, who was featured in the newspaper to educate black children. The parade highlights celebrities, politicians, businessmen, civic organizations and youth groups.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!