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This chapter considers the “rediscovery” of James Van Der Zee's photographs in the late 1960s and the implications of their display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 1969 Harlem on My Mind exhibition, a highly criticized show. It centers the recollections of two young Black individuals who visited the show separately as a starting point for reimagining how to interpret Van Der Zee's work within the context of the show. By returning the arbiter-of-value role to the everyday visitor—and, by extension, to what these viewers may have seen in the photographic image—this chapter begins to consider the possibilities of experiencing and contextualizing the Harlem on My Mind photographs in ways rarely validated by the mainstream art world or its reformers.

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