If a certain mystery haunts daily social interaction, the mystery is only heightened in an artificially frozen moment of that interaction.

-Nicholas Natanson

Have you read about the history of jook joints already? It's not necessaryto have covered that material yet. This recap of some of the ways jooks joints have been talked about in public discourse may spark your memory, or provide a good framework for understanding how Marion Post Wolcott's images fit into a larger pattern of representation:

• as dangerous

• as isolated and unrestrained

• as generally atmospheric, worthy of local color description

• as linked to the labor experience, and as about physicality

• as an authentically private space, of private identities

• or in terms of the public identity of blacks, minstrel-ish

• as exotic


You don't have to go over the "approaches to documentary" section before you begin here in order to understand the discussion. It may, however, give you a good critical framework through which to view the photographs.

Please note: You don't have to read these analyses of the jook joint images in any particular order. I've had to number them for easy identification because Marion Post Wolcott gave many of them the same captions, but the numbers are not meant to indicate a strict order.

Also, I've done my best to get good reproductions of these images, but in some instances a lot of quality is lost by digitizing them.



Juliet Gorman, May 2001





Have you read up on Belle Glade, the town where these photos are taken?