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Double Exposure

Double Exposure

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Images of Black Minnesota in the 1940s

Photography John Glanton

Minnesota Historical Society Press (October 1, 2018)

A rare and intimate look at Minnesota's African American community in postwar America through the lens of a pioneering black photographer.


After serving in World War II, John Glanton returned home to Minnesota and began taking his camera around the streets, parks, clubs, restaurants, and private homes of Minneapolis, capturing the sights and scenes of everyday life for African Americans in the city. The images from intimate portraits to public gatherings reveal a dynamic and diverse community at a time when the nation was entering the postwar boom but before the civil rights movement had taken root. Glanton's photos offer a rare look into the lives and lifestyles of families and individuals often left out of histories of Minnesota's past, showing people at work and play, young and old, happy and sad. The images highlight black-owned businesses of the day, the music and club scene, and weddings and other family occasions to depict the experiences of African American people as presented through the lens of an African American photographer.

Long forgotten in the garage of a family member, the photo negatives were recently rediscovered and digitized. A selection of 200 of the more than 800 images are featured here, along with commentary that further illuminates the lives and experiences of African Americans in postwar Minnesota.

Author information

John F. Glanton (1923–2004) was a professional photographer in the Twin Cities who memorialized a variety of events, people, and moments in postwar Minnesota. Many of his photos appeared in the Minneapolis Spokesman and the St. Paul Recorder.

Reviews and news

On view at the Hennepin County Gallery trough February 26, 2019 : Black Twin Cities: The 1940s Photographs of John F. Glanton
More info here.

In the Media:

Insight News

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

City Pages


KFAI's MinneCulture

Advance Praise:

Double Exposure is a wonderful collection of images by John Glanton that illuminate the often-hidden history of the African American in Minnesota. These photographs capture the rhythm and the tone of the black presence during the 1940s and 1950s and allow us to see a world where family and friends were the glue holding the thriving community together. This collection is a treasure to be savored and enjoyed.”
Lonnie G. Bunch, Founding Director, National Museum of African American History and Culture

MPR feature on the Hennepin County Library's Glanton Collection

Star Tribune, Fox 9, and KARE 11 on the discovery of images.

Related resources

John F. Glanton Collection at the Minneapolis Central Library/Hennepin County Libraries


Photo by John Glanton

Photo by John GlantonPhoto by John Glanton

Photo by John Glanton

Photo by John Glanton

Photo by John Glanton

Photo by John Glanton

  • 160 pages
  • 200 b&w photos
  • 8 x 10 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340944

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