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Easter Sunday in Harlem
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© International Center of Photography

Weegee (Arthur Fellig)
American, NYC, about 1940; print, about 1950
Ferrotyped gelatin silver
13 11/16 x 10 5/8 in.
84.XM.190.8

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I spotted this happy man coming out of the church ... he told me that he was a clothing salesman ... and that every Easter Sunday he puts on his full dress suit.

--Weegee from Naked City (1945)

At a time of racial tension in many parts of the United States, Weegee's photographs showed an unusual sensitivity in their portrayal of minorities. Here, an African-American man in his best suit is surrounded by other churchgoers on Easter Sunday, 1940. Resplendent in coattails, top hat, and striped pants, the man radiates respectability and authority. His tired eyes are overshadowed by his brilliant smile. Compositionally, his top hat forms the peak of a triangle containing two women in white hats, one in the foreground, the other behind and to the right. Weegee's flash illuminates the man, a woman, and a well-dressed boy, while a cluster of other people crowd the scene from within the shadows.