Thesis Defense Announcement

College of Communication and Fine Arts announces the Final Thesis Defense of

Claire Mundy

for the Degree of Master of Arts

March 29, 2019 at 4:00 PM in Arts & Communication, Room 244 A 

Advisor: Dr. Earnestine Jenkins

Bessie Dean Parr's Photographs and The New Negro Movement in Collierville, Tennessee

ABSTRACT: The African-American experience in Collierville, Tennessee is largely untold and realized among the larger community. The photographs by Elizabeth "Bessie" Dean Parr from the early twentieth century includes numerous images of African Americans of Collierville and provides a deeper understanding to their lives in the then rural town. The photograph collection is a significant example of the New Negro Movement in Collierville. The collection includes around 200 glass plate negatives that depict town scenes, portraits, and family portraits inside and outside Parr's studio. The original images are still within the private collection of the Parr/Broer family, however, the Morton Museum has been given access to portions of the images. Information provided by the Parr/Broer family, maps, census records, and literature related to photography, gender roles, and the New Negro Movement were referenced for the purposes of creating a public exhibit at the Morton Museum of Collierville History. The photographs are studied within the photographic practices of the time period and consider the principles of the New Negro Movement, and uses visual analysis to discuss gender, race, and class and how they expand the African American narrative within Collierville at the turn of the century.