The Amistad Research Center has a rich holding of photographs that provides a glimpse into African American life throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The Prosper L. Flint collection is one that presents the pictorial history of African Americans. Prosper L. Flint donated the collection to the Center in 1994. An aura of mystery surrounds majority of the unidentified individuals within the images. All of them were more than likely members or friends of the Flint and Armant families of New Orleans. The Flints and Armants were Creoles and this collection provides a visual representation of Creole life in the city. The photographs are also undated, but by analyzing the dress of the individuals as well as the photograph type, the collection has been dated between the 1880s and 1910s. Some of the photographs are studio portraits and some were posed shots in front of homes.
While one can only speculate about the lives and identities of the people in the collection, there is more information available about Prosper L. Flint, the donor of the photographs. Prosper L. Flint Sr. was born in 1906 in Louisiana, most likely in New Orleans. He lived in the 7th ward, the historic Creole district of New Orleans, with his wife, Armantine (neé Hubbard). The couple had three sons, Prosper Jr., Eddie, and Alvin. Prosper Jr. was born in 1929, Eddie was born in 1931, and Alvin was born in 1933. According to 1940 U.S. census records, Flint worked as a laborer in a country club, while his wife was a seamstress.
Flint Sr.’s mother-in-law, Eugenia Hubbard, came to live with the family upon the death of her husband, Joseph. Armantine Armant was the mother of Eugenia Hubbard, and some of the photographs feature members of the Armant family. Armantine Armant and the Hubbard family were marked as mulatto on the 1920 census, and they most likely identified as Creole. Flint Sr. died in 1987. His son, Prosper L. Flint, Jr., died on August 29, 2005 during Hurricane Katrina.
Image from the Prosper L. Flint collection. Images from the Amistad’s website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.