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Chronicling the Black Diaspora Through Postcards


From left: Norfolk natives, mailed 1915; a Dahomean beauty, mailed 1908; banana carrier, Port Antonio, Jamaica, mailed 1909.

Images from Vintage Postcards from the African World. Courtesy of Jessica B. Harris.


In this feature for Afar, author and culinary historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris reflects on a hobby that has spanned more than half a century in this excerpt from her 2020 book, Vintage Postcards from the African World: In the Dignity of Their Work and the Joy of Their Play. Harris speaks to how her obsession with postcards started and how her love for this art form has grown in both depth and importance in her life, eventually bringing about her current book.

“A deltiologist is someone who collects postcards. I have spent more than 50 years of my life as a postcard addict roaming the world, always on the lookout for the little piece of pasteboard that would complete my collection, add another valent to its scope, or just plain make me smile with delight.” - Jessica B. Harris
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