James Perry Walker
American, 1945 - 2014
Praying woman, Lagoshen, Lagoshen Church, Rossville, TN, 1978
gelatin silver print
14 7/8 x 14 7/8 inches
Museum purchase, 2000.31.19

James Perry Walker: The Preacher and His Congregation

January 17, 2015 - April 4, 2015

Graphics Gallery

The photographs by James Perry Walker follow the Reverend Louis Cole and his congregation through rural Mississippi and Tennessee in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Walker, a Mississippi native, became fascinated with Cole and his parishioners after attending a revival service for new believers. Walker was granted permission to do the photographic essay after Cole's entire congregation gave their approval.

Reverend Cole was a circuit preacher—traveling to at least four churches within an 80-mile radius on a regular basis. Despite tough economic conditions, some of the worst in the United States at the time, the churchgoers faithfully attended every week dressed in their Sunday best. Through his photographs, Walker captures the essence of the community in and out of their respective chapels.

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From the Exhibition