The Kenneth W. Porter Photograph Collection consists of portraits, field research photographs and photographic reproductions compiled by Porter for his research on Black Seminoles, including the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, that he conducted during the 1940s to the 1970s.Some of these images appear in his book "The Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-seeking People," which was published posthumously in 1996.The collection depicts some figures who were members of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, including Lieutenant John Lapham Bullis, commander of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, in studio portraits as a Union officer during the Civil War (ca. 1864) and during his command of the scouts (ca. 1870s); a 1902 studio portrait of John Jefferson (John Horse II), the grandson of Black Seminole chief John Horse, who served in both the Tenth Cavalry and the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts; studio portraits of Charles H. Williams (Banjo Dick), Renty Grayson and Pompay Factor who were all former Seminole Negro Indian Scouts (n.d.); and group portraits of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts taken at various times (1889, ca. 1910, and ca. 1913-1914) during the unit's declining years at Fort Clark, Texas.The collection also consists of snapshot portraits and views either taken by or collected by Porter during his field research on Black Seminoles living in Texas, Florida and Mexico, mostly during the 1940s. This includes candid portraits of the inhabitants, views of dwellings and structures, and views of the Rio Sabinas at the Black Seminole village of Nacimiento, Coahuila, Mexico (1942); views and details of the Mt. Zion Seminole Baptist Church's chink-house construction in Brackettville, Texas (1943); undated views of Kickapoo Indian huts; views of a cornfield, the old landing and the commissary (identified here as the barracks) built in the 1840s by Black Seminoles at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma (1942); candid portraits of Black Seminole "informants" that Porter interviewed (1942-1943); and candid portraits of former Black Seminole scout Renty Grayson and his wife in front of their home at Brackettville, Texas (ca. 1924).Also included are photographic reproductions of undated lithographs and drawings of early to mid-nineteenth century Native American figures, including Seminole Indian chiefs Alligator (Halpatter Tustenuggee), Cloud (Yaholoochee), Grizzly Bear, King Philip (Emathla) and Michenopah; Black Seminole chief Abraham; and a Lipan (Apache) warrior.
Content: Collection contains work by Mary Louise Thompson and Ludovici's Photographic and Crayon Studios.
Biographical/historical: Kenneth Wiggins Porter (1905-1981) was a professor of history at several American colleges, and conducted research on African-American frontiersmen and cowboys, Black Seminoles, and American folklore and folk history, from the 1930s to the 1970s. He was also a poet; an active Socialist; published books on United States business history and African-American frontiersmen; and authored several unpublished manuscripts, including his research on Black Seminoles which was published posthumously.
Publications: The Black Seminoles: history of a freedom-seeking people / Kenneth W. Porter. Gainesville : University Press of Florida, 1996.
Citation/reference: Forms part of: Kenneth W. Porter Papers, 1912-1981.