Back to Inquiry Set

1.5.4 Portrait of Family in Backyard, circa 1930s

Joseph, E. F. (Emmanuel Francis)
circa 1930s
Negatives (photograph)

Portrait of Family in Backyard, circa 1930s, E. F. Joseph Photograph Collection, African American Museum & Library, Oakland Public Library.


This is a photo of a family who lived in Oakland in the 1930s. What do you notice about the people? Are there different generations in this family? A generation within a family is a group of people born around the same time; for example, you, your siblings, and cousins that are born within the same 10 to 15 years are considered one generation; your parents are another generation; and your grandparents are a different generation. How many generations do you think appear in this photo? How are the people in the photo dressed? Do you think this might be a special occasion? How is this family photo similar to or different from one that you might take with your family?  
Many of today‚Äôs students live in multigenerational households. Sometimes this is due to necessity (housing needs, grandparents helping to raise grandchildren, etc.), and other times due to cultural traditions. This image could provide an opportunity for students to share their living situation in a safe manner, recognizing that all families are different and that some families have the opportunity for more than two generations to live together in one household.  

Photograph of four people seated and five standing behind them, posed for a portrait.