Vintage Portraits of Black Chicago: Sidewalk Fruit Vendors

black_sidewalkBlack sidewalk salesmen arranging their fresh fruits and vegetables on Chicago`s South Side. Photographed by John H. White, June 1973

“…Many of the city`s black businessmen started small and grew by working hard. Today Chicago is believed to be the black business capital of the United States. Black Enterprise Magazine reported in 1973 that the city had 14 of the top 100 black owned businesses in the country, one more than New York City**.”  caption by John H. White.

** in 2008, Black Enterprise named its 35th annual list of Top Black-Owned Businesses in America.  Illinois had 17 companies on the list, including Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo and Johnson Publishing Co.  Only Michigan had more, with 23 (out of 100).  Black Enterprise’s list back in 1973 was a first for the magazine.

from the National Archives website:

From June through October 1973 and briefly during the spring of 1974, John H. White, a 28-year-old photographer with the Chicago Daily News, worked for the federal government photographing Chicago, especially the city’s African American community. As White reflected recently, he saw his assignment as “an opportunity to capture a slice of life, to capture history.”

Today, John White is a staff photographer with the Chicago Sun-Times. He has won hundreds of awards, and his work has been exhibited and published widely. In 1982 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

(taken from the National Archives and Records Administration Website)

I am a big fan of John H. White’s photography.  He has that magic ability to tell a whole story with one frame.  click here for his website

NOTE: I included his original captions here; but I also included my own updates of said captions.

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About ayanacontreras

i love the transportive powers of sound. i am a radio host/producer, DJ, Sound designer, 45rpm collector, and art lover living in the city of wind. View all posts by ayanacontreras

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