Pictures and Progress
In the mid 19th to early 20th century, African American intellectuals like Frederick Douglass were vocal proponents of photographic portraiture, both as a class-equalizer and as a tool to combat the image of African Americans espoused by racist caricaturists.
Whether these ideas trickled down to the people of the Ozarks or not is unknown, but the wealth of formal poritraiture from that period does provide a window into how African Americans in the region saw themselves and wanted themselves to be remembered. Even before photography was widely available, some families chose to capture themselves through pastel and charcoal portraits.
As time and technology progressed, cameras became more accessible and mobile, leading to photos that go even further to flesh out memories of African Americans in the past.