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Historic Photographs Of SD’s African-American Community

Above: A baptismal scene shot in San Diego by Norman Baynard.

Members of San Diego's African-American community were notably captured in thousands of photographs taken by photographer and Logan Heights resident, Norman Baynard.

Baynard was a portrait and event photographer who documented African-American life here from the 1940s to the 1970s. His photographs, referred to as the Baynard Collection, include more than 12,000 negatives and over 1,000 prints.

The collection focuses on everyday people in the community, and Baynard captured scenes from weddings, church gatherings, political groups, various community events and even people at the grocery store.

The only problem is, many of Baynard's subjects are not identified.

Now the San Diego History Center is trying to sift through the thousands of photos donated by Baynard's son and figure out who the people in the photographs are.

This weekend, 50 of the photos from the Baynard Collection will be on view at the Arts and Culture Festival at Market Creek Plaza in southeast San Diego.

Organizers of the festival are hoping attendees will recognize some of the people in the Baynard photographs. "We're hoping, wouldn't it be exciting, if that was somebody's grandmother," said Lefaua Leilua, one of the event's organizers.

Chris Travers is the Director of the History Center's Photograph collection. He says the San Diego History Center is focusing on the 500 most interesting photographs in the collection and showing excerpts of it at various times and locations in the hope that locals will help identify Baynard's subjects.

You can see a portion of the Baynard Collection this weekend at the Arts and Culture Festival at Market Creek Plaza in southeast San Diego. The festival will include food and music performances, including one by Sweet Rush, the first female Somali artists (and sister act) to sign a major American record deal.

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