Image 'Jitterbugging in Negro juke joint', 1939

TLF ID M008593

This is a black-and-white photograph showing African Americans at a roadside dance hall outside Clarksdale in Mississippi, USA, one Saturday evening in November 1939. Couples are jitterbugging to music from a jukebox while other people, mostly men, are standing around. The photograph was taken by Marion Post Wolcott.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This photograph is a valuable resource for years 9 to 12 English in relation to visual texts. Analysing the photograph reveals its complexity. The way the young woman in jodhpurs and her partner are positioned with their eyes looking down to their dancing feet helps to construct meaning and the juxtaposition of those dancing with those watching reinforces the feeling of happiness generated by the dancing couple.
  • The photograph is a useful source for years 11 and 12 Modern History studies of the USA during the inter-war years and possibly also for studies of the lack of civil rights for African-Americans in the 1930s. Although the USA was still in the grip of the Great Depression and African Americans in southern states such as Mississippi endured segregation and worse, the photograph presents a positive and witty view of their entertainment on a Saturday evening.
  • Marion Post Wolcott, a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) had been surprised by the feelings of hope that still survived among Americans in rural areas who had suffered grievously during the Great Depression. Such feelings are evident in this image. The purpose of this and other FSA photographs was to convince the Congress and US public of the value of the FSA, an agency that was part of President Roosevelt's 'New Deal'.
Learning area
  • English
  • History

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: Marion Post Wolcott
  • Description: author
  • Contributor
  • Name: The Library of Congress
  • Organization: The Library of Congress
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: UNITED STATES
  • URL:
  • Person: Marion Post Wolcott
  • 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
  • Unknown
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.