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Alpha Phi Alpha Basketball Team by James VanDerZee

Silver gelatin developed-out print, 9 x 7 1/8 inches
Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Evan-Tibbs Collection, Gift of Thurlow Evans Tibbs, Jr., 1996
(c) 2003 the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Look at this!
This photograph is a portrait of the Alpha Phi Alpha basketball team, taken in 1926 in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City. Harlem was a major center of African-American life and culture. Photographer James VanDerZee used his camera to capture the lives of the people there.

Think about it.
Notice how the team is posed -- nothing is out of place, everything is balanced. Why would the artist set up the picture this way? What was he trying to show, beyond just the team members?

Get creative!
Try writing a poem that describes the emotions of the people in this photograph. Or think about how life in your community compares to life in this photo. Write a poem about those similarities or differences.

Write a poem about this art. Click here to write.

Poems

Title:

the baskit ball team

Name:

nathan

Hometown:

waunakee

Age:

Title:

The Team

Name:

Alexis

Hometown:

Arizona

Age:

9

Title:

Together

Name:

Maya

Hometown:

Sacramento

Age:

12

Title:

Game Play

Name:

Katie G.

Hometown:

Abingdon

Age:

12

Title:

Win or Lose

Name:

Canaan

Hometown:

Abingdon

Age:

12

Title:

Chocolate Milk

Name:

Lusada

Hometown:

Abigdon

Age:

11

Title:

Basketball

Name:

Aleya

Hometown:

Miami

Age:

12

Title:

Pride

Name:

Nick

Hometown:

Elkhart IN

Age:

13

Title:

Dibble Shoot Score

Name:

Savannah

Hometown:

Kannapolis

Age:

12

Title:

Mean Men

Name:

Kari

Hometown:

Wichita

Age:

11

Title:

Superstars

Name:

Mary

Hometown:

White Oak

Age:

8

Title:

On the Court

Name:

Tami

Hometown:

Age:

-1

Title:

The Feeling

Name:

Cassandra

Hometown:

Valley Stream

Age:

10

Title:

Teamwork

Name:

Marina

Hometown:

Naperville

Age:

10

Reading Is Fundamental