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Black Americana Collection
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical History
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Black Americana Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2010.01.15
    Physical Description: 3.0 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
    Date (inclusive): 1887-2008 (bulk 1980-2000)
    Abstract: The Black Americana Collection is a collection of photographs, printed materials, textiles, and three-dimensional objects related to the African American experience in northern California, and collected by Ted Sahl, a photo-journalist who practiced in San Jose.


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    Black Americana Collection, MSS-2010-01-15, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed and finding aid encoded in EAD by Stephanie Waslohn. Reviewed by Danelle Moon. Accruals were added to the collection by Victor Rodriguez II in June 2016.

    Biographical History

    Theodore (Ted) Sahl is an award-winning local photographer in San José, California. Sahl spent over 30 years documenting social and political events in the Bay Area through photojournalism. Although best known for his involvement with the Santa Clara County lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, Sahl photographed other social movements in the region, including the anti-nuclear demonstrations at the Lawrence Livermore Radiation Laboratory, Cesar Chavez and the Farm Labor Strikes in the 1970s-1980s, and the African American community in Santa Clara County. A champion of social justice, Sahl, used photography to document and empower marginalized communities.

    Scope and Content

    The Black Americana Collection is a collection of photographs, printed materials, textiles, and three-dimensional objects. The formats include historic postcards, news clippings, programs, sheet music, textiles, dolls, and figurines related to the African American experience. Ted Sahl, photo-journalist and collector, has documented the African American community in San Jose since the 1970s. The photographic materials include images of celebrities political rallies, and social events in San Jose, as well as a small photographic album that features African Americans living in Santa Cruz during the 1950s. The historic post-card collection illustrates the racists attitudes during the era of Jim Crow. This eclectic collection of black Americana documents the struggles, achievements, and contributions of the African American community in American society and culture.


    This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. Photographic Materials; Series II. Printed Materials; and Series III. Textiles and Three-dimensional Objects.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Racism in popular culture -- United States.
    African Americans in popular culture.
    African Americans -- Collectibles.
    African Americans -- Race identity.