Henry Martin Photographs and Interview (1914)

Below are various photographs of Henry Martin (1905, 1914, and other dates) and images of the 1914 "interview."

In 1914, Corks and Curls interviewed Henry Martin, perhaps one of the most well-known former slaves associated with the University due to his part as the Bell Ringer. The article, "Uncle Henry: Bell Ringer," is sub-titled "A Dramatic Monologue." Given the title, one cannot assume this is a verbatim transcript of Mr. Martin's own words; nonetheless, it provides perspective of a former slave's presence on campus. Also interesting and rare is the inclusion of a photograph: a portrait of the elder man before the hallowed Bell. Although a posed portrait and a "dramatic monologue" may seem apposite by today's definition of factual reportage, we must consider that such techniques were more common in nineteenth-century reportage; further, the seeming transcript of Mr. Martin's words through another author were typical of some African-American writing at the time (consider, for instance, the corpus of slave narratives). 

Ultimately, the conventions used must not detract from the importance and authenticity of such documents: an actual photograph, and an account in Henry's "own words," (however widely paraphrased they may be) of his own life.