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Catalog Data

Scurlock, Addison N., 1883-1964  Search this
Divine, Father, orRev. (George Baker), ca. 1882-1965  Search this
Subseries Creator:
Scurlock Studio (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Scurlock, Robert S. (Saunders), 1917-1994  Search this
Custom Craft  Search this
Scurlock, Addison N., 1883-1964  Search this
Scurlock, George H. (Hardison), 1919-2005  Search this
1 Item
Box 1
African Americans  Search this
Archival materials
Scope and Contents:
Job Number: 25695
Group portrait of Divine with fourteen other men and women, seated around a table; man in left foreground is writing on a pad and a woman is writing on the table. A sign on the wall behind them reads simply, "Abundance." Ink ident. on film edge, plus "15- Prints". Signed "Scurlock / Wash. D.C." in ink, bottom left.
Biographical / Historical:
African-American religious leader, founder of the Peace Mission movement, b. probably near Savannah, Ga. and named George Baker. After preaching in the South, he moved to Harlem (1915) in New York City, became one of the neighborhood's biggest landlords, acquired wealth through other businesses, including restaurants and grocery stores, and began styling himself Major M. J. Divine, later Father Divine. Although once dismissed as a cult leader, he built the largest religious movement in northern ghettos during the Great Depression. His role as an early civil rights activist&#x2014he led anti-lynching campaigns, instituted economic cooperatives, and organized political action against racial discrimination&#x2014has come to be more appreciated. The movement spread beyond New York City to other places in the United States and abroad, sometimes after the group sent whites to purchase property in segregated areas. During the 1940s, his health and influence declined, but his movement symbolized the progressive spirit in the black church and helped define the church's active role in the civil rights movement. See Sara Harris, Father Divine (rev. ed. 1971); Kenneth E. Burnham, God Comes to America (1979); Robert Weisbrot, Father Divine (1984); Jill Watts, God, Harlem U.S.A. (1992). -- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition Copyright ©1994, 1995 Columbia University Press.
Addison Scurlock probably photographed Father Divine in 1932, according to research by Professor Leonard Primiano, Cabrini College (e-mail Aug. 6, 2010).
#151 on original envelope, from box D.
Subseries Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements required to view negatives due to cold storage. Using negatives requires a three hour waiting period. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
Subseries Rights:
When the Museum purchased the collection from the Estate of Robert S. Scurlock, it obtained all rights, including copyright. The earliest photographs in the collection are in the public domain because their term of copyright has expired. The Archives Center will control copyright and the use of the collection for reproduction purposes, which will be handled in accordance with its standard reproduction policy guidelines. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Portraits, Group -- African Americans  Search this
African American clergy  Search this
Cults and nonconventional religious groups  Search this
Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- Black-and-white negatives -- Acetate film
Subseries Citation:
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Scurlock Studio Records, Subseries 4.1: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin Negatives
Scurlock Studio Records, Subseries 4.1: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin Negatives / 4.1: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin negatives
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History