Photo Frame

Handcrafted ornate frame
Handcrafted ornate frame

This frame first belonged to my great-great-great grandparents, Richard and Emily Smith who worked as sharecroppers in Virginia following the abolition of slavery. It was likely the most expensive item they owned and their most prized possession. The frame was then passed to their daughter, who gave it to her son, Robert Smith, who hung it proudly in his home, where it has been ever since. At some point before Robert acquired the frame, a mirror glass was fitted into it, and it remained that way until 2009 when a photo was discovered behind the mirror, dating back to 1910. It turns out that this frame had not been a mirror at all, but rather a photo frame that held the only photo of the two former slaves who worked so hard to acquire it. When I look at this frame, I can’t help but think of the joy that it must have brought to them, and what a proud feeling it must have been to pass it along to their daughter. I think about the walls on which this frame has hung; walls that my ancestors build with their own two hands, walls that saw lives begin and end, walls that surrounded countless moments of both sorrow and joy. To me, this frame is representative of the hard work of two people who had little, and were given less. It will someday be a great honor to hang this frame in my own home, however, instead of seeing my own reflection within this frame, I will now see the faces of those whose hard work and determination to succeed is the foundation on which I am able to stand today.

Place(s): Virginia

– Kionah Tucker

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more