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Photo Gallery

Living History [PHOTOS]


Craig James started collecting 19th century photographs of African Americans because he saw so much pride in the faces of the men and women who were no longer slaves.

Then came a surprise: Craig learned that a photograph of his own ancestor, his great-great-great grandmother Nursey James, had been preserved.

Craig talks with Dick Gordon about seeing the photo for the first time, and meeting the direct descendants of Nursey's master.


This photograph of Craig James’ great-great-great grandmother Nursey James and Gennie James, a descendant of Nursey’s owner, resides at Sycamore Springs Plantation.


Craig James writes poems about some of the images in his collection: “Mammy” / No, I am not her mother, / and from my womb she did not come / But, it was I who rocked her / And it was in my bosom she found rest / My voice was authority / and my presence recognized / My hands guided, soothed, and trained / and yes, she loved me.


From Craig James's collection


From Craig James's collection


Craig James writes poems about some of the images in his collection: “Gracefully Aged”/ The years have past me by / but the days are yet with me / From sun up to sun down / is forever etched in my spirit / I should be bitter / filled with hatred and malice / I did nothing wrong / But I still had many years


The plantation is still known to locals as the “ol’ James Plantation.”
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