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Hope Harvested

This began as a quest for images of people engaging in recreational activities. Facing copious time indoors with limited places to go, many are looking for respite. I thought it would be uplifting to find pictures of people having fun. While combing through Duke University Libraries’ numerous digital collections in search of such images, several photos caught my eye. I clicked through hundreds of images reading their captions and summaries. Driven to delve deeper into collections for the story behind those smiling faces. As I sought these stories, I recalled the words of James Baldwin:

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.

Here were the lived experiences of people striving, aspiring, and persevering.

What started as a search for people pursuing pastimes quickly pivoted. It transformed into a search for people – smiling, laughing and hoping despite their circumstances. Presented below is a small harvest of photographs that inspired this post, including embedded links to their collections. As they did for me, I hope these photos may serve as a gateway to explore these inspired collections.

This image is from a series of photographs taken by James Karales between 1953 and 1957 in Rendville, Ohio, a small mining town which was one of the first racially integrated towns in the U.S.

 

African would-be immigrants play soccer in an enclosed compound at the Safi detention centre outside Valletta July 15, 2008. Around 1,500 illegal immigrants are currently held in detention in Malta for periods of up to 18 months. Though their intention was to reach Italy, most found themselves in Malta when they were rescued by the Maltese Armed Forces when they found themselves in difficulties while on their way to reach European soil from Africa.

 

Men eating at cooperative farm, central Cuba

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