Vintage gelatin silver print
Image: 16 x 24 cm (6 5/16 x 9 7/16 in.); Paper: 20.1 x 25 cm (7 15/16 x 9 13/16 in.)
Gift of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg 2016.296
© Leonard Freed /Magnum Photos
“Because of the generally unhealthy climate and malaria [on Johns Island], the white land owners left the slaves alone to run the plantations by themselves,” noted Freed. “It remained one of the few places where the slaves continued speaking an African dialect.” Freed took this photograph on Christmas Eve at a “one-room, never-painted, wood” church where the islanders were carrying out the traditional Christmas Watch. “We pray until the light of day shines, then we know the Christ child has arrived,” they told Freed. —from Black in White America
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