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Jim Alexander

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Information about Jim Alexander

Profile image of Jim Alexander

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
Document, Document, Document.

Birthplace

Born:
8/7/1935
Birth Location:
Waldwick, New Jersey

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
Document, Document, Document.

Birthplace

Born:
8/7/1935
Birth Location:
Waldwick
See how Jim Alexander is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Photographer Jim Alexander was born to contractor David Alexander and Frances James Alexander on August 7, 1935 in Waldwick, New Jersey. He attended Waldwick Public School and Ramsey High School. Joining the U.S. Navy in 1952, Alexander developed an interest in photography, apprenticing with the base photographer and selling photo portraits of other sailors for fifty cents each. Leaving the Navy in 1956, Alexander detailed cars, ran a pool hall and was route manager for a newspaper.

In 1964, Alexander moved to Ridgewood, New Jersey and started a career as a freelance photographer. He earned a certificate in business management from Rutgers University in 1967 and a degree in commercial photography from the New York Institute of Photography in 1968. That same year, Alexander began to document the local and national response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Earning a reputation as a documentary photographer, Alexander was hired by Bruner Productions to shoot film strips from 1968 to 1970. In 1970, he was hired by Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture as a consultant for the Black Environmental Study Team. Alexander completed courses in communications psychology at the New School for Social Research in 1974. Accepting a position with the Atlanta Office of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in 1976, Alexander went on to the Atlanta Neighborhood Arts Center in 1977 as photographer in residence. In 1982, he established the Photo/Media Photography Collective studio gallery complex in downtown Atlanta. He was appointed photographer in residence at Clark College in 1985. In 1988, his cultural interest led to the establishment of the First World Bookstores. In 1993, several of Alexander’s photographs were selected for “Beyond Category: The Musical Genius of Duke Ellington” exhibit that continues to tour. Alexander was also included in the city of Atlanta’s Masters Series in 1995 and in 2000; his jazz photos were featured in a solo exhibit with the National Black Arts Festival.

The recipient of a myriad awards, Alexander operates his own gallery/studio near the King Complex and is still a photographer, curator, lecturer and teacher. Having taught and mentored youth and adults at the Carlos Museum, Emory University, the Fulton County Arts Council, TRIO and Upward Bound Programs at Clark, Morris Brown and Atlanta Metropolitan Colleges, Alexander also maintains membership with Photomedia Associates, Inc., Media Arts for Youth, the International Association for Jazz Education, the African American Jazz Caucus and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jim Alexander's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander talks about his mother's move from Camden, South Carolina to Ridgewood, New Jersey as a teenager
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander describes his father's family background and employment
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander describes growing up in Waldwick, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander recalls his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jim Alexander describes his parents and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jim Alexander recalls a childhood adventure in Waldwick, New Jersey, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander recalls a childhood adventure in Waldwick, New Jersey, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander recalls a childhood adventure in Waldwick, New Jersey, pt. 3
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander recalls his grade school years at Waldwick Public School in Waldwick, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander recalls an influential teacher at Waldwick Public School in Waldwick, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander describes his semester at Ramsey High School in Ramsey, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander remembers horseback riding as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander describes working in a coat factory in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander describes visiting relatives in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander talks about joining the U.S. Navy and his start in photography
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander talks about photography and his billet as a fireman in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander recounts his first experience of segregation in Maryland while on leave in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander describes segregation in Charleston, South Carolina while he was in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander describes how he became a photographer's apprentice in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander recalls celebrating blues artist W.C. Handy's one hundredth birthday in 1974
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander describes Charleston, South Carolina in the 1950s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander talks about how Charleston, South Carolina changed since the time of segregation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander recalls segregation in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander talks about serving in the U.S. Navy in New Orleans, Louisiana and sailing through Hurricane Hazel
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander describes his transfer to Long Beach, California and his photography hobby while in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander describes jazz artist Johnny Otis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander recalls his discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1956
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander describes working in a furniture factory after his discharge from the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander describes managing an illegal gambling hall in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander recounts how he came to manage a newspaper route in Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander describes managing a newspaper delivery service in Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander describes returning to photography during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander talks about leaving the newspaper business to focus on his photography
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander talks about becoming involved in the Black Panther Party in 1969 and meeting his wife Louise
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander recalls President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander talks about his early photography career and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander describes black politicians and neighborhood organizations in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander recalls the election of Kenneth Gibson, Newark, New Jersey's first black mayor in 1970
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander talks about the federal Model Cities Program and being hired as a lecturer at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander describes lecturing at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander describes Q House and the Freedom Arts Communications Team (FACT) in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jim Alexander describes cultural programs he helped create while teaching at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jim Alexander talks about working with Black Efforts for Soul in Television (BEST) and the National Black Media Coalition
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Jim Alexander explains why he left New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander talks about leaving New Haven, Connecticut in 1976
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander describes working for CORE Magazine and photographing black elected officials including Atlanta, Georgia mayor Maynard Jackson
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia and meeting an old friend, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia and meeting an old friend, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander describes working for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and volunteering at the Neighborhood Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander talks about working with the National Black Media Coalition to increase minority participation at Turner Broadcasting
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander talks about his love of music, and his membership in the African American Jazz Caucus
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jim Alexander describes photographing jazz artists and the Duke Ellington Fellowship at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander recalls meeting Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, and Noble Sissle at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut in 1972
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander describes how he captures photographs and advice from his mentor, HistoryMaker Gordon Parks
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander remembers photographing Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra in concert
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander describes his reputation as a trustworthy photographer to groups like the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander recalls his favorite portrait subjects, including John Henrik Clarke, HistoryMaker Oscar Brown, Jr., Amiri Baraka, and Dizzy Gillespie
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander describes jazz artist Dizzy Gillespie
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander recalls photographing black writers, including HistoryMakers Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Pearl Cleage
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander talks about photographing civil rights icons and historical events
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander describes the challenges posed by documentary photography
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander describes teaching photojournalism at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander talks about his bookstore chain, First World Bookstores
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander talks about closing his bookstores and working with Very Special Arts in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander talks about Roy Innis' leadership of CORE
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander talks about obtaining permission for his photographs
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Jim Alexander talks about the people he would like to photograph, including HistoryMaker Barack Obama and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Jim Alexander talks about the need to archive his work and serving as president of African Americans for the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jim Alexander describes exhibiting his work at the National Black Arts Festival and the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jim Alexander lists photographers he admires, including James Van Der Zee, P.H. Polk, and HistoryMaker Roy Lewis
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jim Alexander talks about the impact of digital photography on the craft of photography
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jim Alexander talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Jim Alexander shares his advice for younger generations
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Jim Alexander talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Jim Alexander reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Jim Alexander describes the Studioplex, his workspace in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Jim Alexander talks about his family