Image 'Old Negro (former slave) with horn with which slaves were called', 1939

TLF ID M008596

This is a black-and-white photograph showing an old African American man sitting in a doorway and holding a horn once used to summon slaves to work at sunrise. The photograph was taken near Marshall in Texas, USA, by photographer Russell Lee.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This photograph is a valuable resource for years 9 to 12 English in relation to visual texts. The old man is framed by the doorway. The fall of light leads the viewer's eye up the steps, through the man's left side, and up to his eyes. The horn is included as an obvious symbol of slavery and the old man's ongoing lack of freedom. This visual complexity and symbolism help construct the photograph's meaning.
  • The photograph may also be of use for years 11 and 12 Modern History studies of the USA during the inter-war years and for year 9 History in relation to slavery and its aftermath. The man shown here may have been a slave in the area or may have come to Marshall during the Reconstruction period. The policies of segregation and disenfranchisement in Texas ensured former slaves remained locked into poverty that deepened during the Great Depression.
  • Russell Lee was one of a number of photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration (FSA). He worked for the FSA from 1936 to 1943 and was responsible for many iconic Texas and New Mexico images. The FSA was one of the federal agencies established under President Roosevelt's 'New Deal' policies. Its mission was to help small farmers and agricultural communities recover from the Great Depression.
Learning area
  • English
  • History

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: Russell Lee
  • Description: author
  • Contributor
  • Name: The Library of Congress
  • Organization: The Library of Congress
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: UNITED STATES
  • URL:
  • Person: Russell Lee
  • Description: author
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: Vic, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Commonwealth of Australia, 2010, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, communicate and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.