Here is a brief history of racism in 30 powerful photos

Here are some powerful photos that everyone should take time out to look at.

The blog Earthly Mission put together some powerful photos that everyone should take time out to look at.

This is an attempt to grasp the absurdity of these two interlinked ideologies without showing dead bodies or fighting armies. Instead, I used some rarely published photographs that I find extremely fascinating.

Powerful indeed.

Check out the series below:

1. Farmers await the opening of a slave fair in St. Louis, Missouri, 1852. race 1
2. A slave showing his scars from repeated floggings, 1863. race 2
3. A device that was probably meant to prevent slaves from escaping through small openings, such as windows, 1863. race 3
4. The Edmonton ice hockey team, 1916. This picture shows how the swastika symbol was at one time somewhat universal and not associated with racism, being in use long before Hitler utilized it. race 4
5. Hitler’s own designs for the Nazi Party symbol, 1920. race 5
6. Mussolini is greeted with a giant letter M in the Italian village of Piemonte, 1928. race 6
7. A German bomb with a message for Churchill, 1940. race 7
8. A Canadian soldier searching Jakob Nacken, the tallest soldier in Hitler’s army, 1944. race 8
9. A German “Rail Wolf” destroying train tracks in Italy, 1944. race 9
10. A Japanese family returning to their home in Los Angeles after WWII, 1945. race 10
11. Soviet soldiers with Hitler’s globe after WWII, 1945. race 11
12. Segregation in North Carolina, 1950. race 12
13. Paula Hitler, Adolph Hitler’s only sibling, 1954. race 13
14. A Holocaust survivor bonks a skinhead on his skin head, 1985. race 15
15. A British sailor removing the leg irons from a slave, late 1800s. race 16
16. Klu Klux Klan at a carnival, 1925. race 17
17. World’s Highest Standard of Living – A Margaret Bourke-White Photograph,1937. race 18
18. A rare color photo of Adolf Hitler which shows his true eye color (date unknown). race 19
19. US Government mockups of how Hitler could have disguised himself, 1940s. race 20
20. The last photo taken of Adolf Hitler as he overlooks the damage in Berlin,1945. race 21
21. This is what he saw. race 22
22. A German soldier returns home only to find his family no longer there, Frankfurt, 1946. race 23
23. A girl who grew up in a concentration camp draws a picture of “Home” while living in a residence for disturbed children, Poland, 1948. race 24
24. Black children looking in on a whites-only playground, Mobile, Alabama 1956. race 25
25. African girl in human zoo, Belgium 1958. race 26
26. Black man drinking at white only fountain, 1964. race 27
27. Nelson Mandela keeps his fists raised after he was sentenced to life imprisonment, June 1964. race 28
28. Demonstrator at the Harlem Peace March to end racial oppression carries an anti-war sign, 1967. race 29
29. The child of a KKK member approaches black state troopers, 1992. race 30
30. A sign warning white residents in Johannesburg during apartheid times, 1956. race 31



  1. Avatar

    Wanda Doyle

    July 26, 2014 at 2:10 am

    #4, the Edmonton Ice Hockey team should not have been included, as the picture was taken in 1916 and had nothing to do with either racism or Nazism, as the caption plainly indicates.

  2. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 5:05 am

    #4 doesn’t belong in a “brief history of racism”. Back in 1916 the swastika was not a Nazi or racist symbol. It was a mostly associated with Buddhism and good luck.

  3. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 5:05 am

    These make me sad.

  4. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 5:19 am

    It should be noted the Swastika was a very commonly used symbol prior to the Nazis adopting it and originally had no racist implications.

  5. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Funny, didn’t see anything about the Black panthers here!

  6. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I feel the need to remind everyone that the swastika has been around long before it was ever tainted by evil and I am a damn proud of mine as it is a good symbol (good place to look is here for more information: http://reclaimtheswastika.com/symbolism/).

    owning people was evil and there is still those being owned such as women and children whom are still used as slaves to this day.

    let us not forget the sins of humanity’s past or risk repeating them.

  7. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Many items from before Hitler’s time have swastikas on them. I even have an old boy scout medal from 1910 with one on it. It had a totally different meaning then, typically ‘peace’ or ‘good luck’. Hitler hijacked it for his evil intentions, and forever changed how people see it. It is unfair to call people who used it before his time any sort of racist because of their association with it.

  8. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Prior to Hitler, the Swastika had no widespread racist connotation. Including a photo from 1916 isn’t an example of racism. It is still a widely used symbol in some eastern religions and in it’s original Sanskrit, it’s thought to mark lucky or auspicious items. At the time of the photo of the ice hockey team, there was no racist meaning to the Swastika. In that era, before Hitler and Nazism’s rise, it was a symbol of good luck.

  9. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    The Edmonton ice hockey team doesn’t wear a right facing swastika, that has nothing to do with race…

  10. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t know how many of them are the best examples of racism. Many seem to be showing an end result of racism. For example, a soldier searching a soldier, is that racism? The swastika also means different things to different people, and I doubt the hockey team was using it as a symbol of hate in 1916. It’s still in use by many eastern religions as a symbol good luck or well being. It has just been burned into our minds as a symbol of hate and of the Nazis, that we cannot fathom that it might have been used for more innocuous purposes.

  11. Avatar


    July 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    How is #4 a part of A Brief History Of Racism?

  12. Avatar

    John Martin

    July 28, 2014 at 1:42 am

    For picture #4, you misunderstand the original meaning — to include the meaning at the time (you might as well post an image of a new house in India or Japan, which will likely include a swastika if it’s in the rural areas).




  13. Avatar


    August 12, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Everybody freaking out about the Edmonton hockey team — use your brain. It’s included here to demonstrate how much the context has changed regarding that symbol thanks to (wait for it) RACISM. And tyrannical bloodthirsty despots more generally. Gone are the days when a bunch of women could innocently select a swastika as their team symbol.
    It’s an interesting historical photo because without a caption telling you if those women are pre-1930s or post-1930s, you really have no idea just what it is you’re looking at.

  14. Avatar


    October 10, 2014 at 2:44 am

    Lots of iconic images here by some of the 20th Century’s best photographers, yet only Margaret Bourke White is worthy of credit? Remember, if the photos are powerful, it’s because someone had the vision to create them. Credit the artists, please.

  15. Avatar


    December 4, 2014 at 3:49 am

    half of these arent even racist

  16. Avatar

    Red Cabbage

    December 4, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Yeah, right. I mean with those millions of people they executed and all the white people they lynched. Should definitely be up there with the Third Reich and the KKK. You are the smartest person ever!

  17. Avatar


    December 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Picture #3 is entirely wrong. That device was one of many that those who had runaway were forced to wear–sometimes for the rest of their lives to let all whites know that this particular slave might run again so beware. This is a rather simple one. many had elaborate bell systems attached and other cumbersome heavy devices that would both identify the runaway and his/her violation of the law and to help find them if they decided to run again. Also, the Edmonton team with Swastikas has nothing to do with racism of any kind. The swastika is an ancient symbol used in many cultures including the culture of the native Americans. The swastika was a common decorative motif for native Americans.

  18. Avatar


    December 4, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Why are so many people so focused on what they deem to NOT be racist here rather than feeling any empathy to what IS, That is truly a sign of the pervasiveness of racism in our society.

  19. Avatar


    December 4, 2014 at 8:19 am

    You need to remember that the panthers didn’t have the power to change anything in america. Racism was part of the law in america.

  20. Avatar

    Weird Sh***

    December 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

    how on earth the photo of Hitlers sister is a racist photo?! … And Human Zoo thats insane

  21. Avatar


    December 4, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    What should make you sad is how little has changed. I know it seems as though we’ve made great strides but mostly the hate has gone underground. Its depressing, particularly for a “Christian” country.

  22. Avatar


    December 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    After hundreds of years of slavery you want a flash in the pan movement mentioned? Take off the hood.

  23. Avatar


    December 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    This is humanity’s present as well. Just cause its gone underground dont think its left us.

  24. Avatar

    Nathaniel Mulcahy

    December 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Piemonte is not a village, it is a region.

  25. Avatar


    December 5, 2014 at 12:37 am

    more like copper brain… #jackass

  26. Avatar


    December 5, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Every race has been enslaved at one time or another and in africa today it is still a common practice thugs be thugs regardless of there color!

  27. Avatar

    Tommy Bones

    December 5, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    That symbol you refer to points to the left and is basically the mirror image of the nazi swastika.

  28. Avatar


    December 5, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Ug, I hate this article. Its focus on Nazis makes it seem like fascists invented racism — it is more likely that fascists learned the effectiveness of state-sponsored racism from the U.S. Where are the photos of the happy prosperous southern U.S. which was built on the labor of African slaves? For that matter, what about photos of the happy prosperous 19th Century Northern U.S. which benefited indirectly from slavery? Where are the photos of lynching, the ever-present threat of violence that kept black people in line? Where are the photos of police violence against civil rights workers? What about racism against people of Asian decent, like the American concentration camps for the Japanese? This journalist took the easiest possible route and picked a few evocative clickbait photos of black slaves and Nazis. Lazy and ignorant. But I guess maybe that is a good characterization of racism after all.

  29. Avatar

    Scott Fecher

    December 26, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Fair point, but its inclusion throws shade on those women who don’t deserve it.

  30. Avatar

    Scott Fecher

    December 26, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Or perhaps they agree those things are racist and have nothing more to add. Not everyone is trying to outdo each other with outrage.

  31. Avatar

    John Magin

    December 26, 2014 at 1:56 am

    It predates Nazism by thousands of years. For example: Ancient Roman ruins in Koln have these inlaid symbols in the tiles. Perhaps where he drew inspiration from?

  32. Avatar

    D'Arcy Mann

    December 26, 2014 at 5:44 am

    ” without a caption telling you if those women are pre-1930s or post-1930s, you really have no idea just what it is you’re looking at”

    Their outfits are a bit of a giveaway. Canadian women’s hockey teams didn’t dress like that in the 1930s and 40s.

    Further, this collection is full of photos that have little or nothing to do with racism. So cram your condescending tone. Sideways.

  33. Avatar


    December 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    This is NOT a christian country. We were neither established as one, nor do we behave as one.

  34. Avatar


    December 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Paula was not Hitler’s only sibling, he had 3 other siblings none of whom made it to adulthood. You should check your facts.

  35. Avatar

    Ariele Betterton

    December 29, 2014 at 10:09 am


  36. Avatar


    December 31, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    The Swastika (which is, itself, a Sanskrit word) predates the Nazi symbol, no matter WHICH way it points, by millenia. It was a symbol of protection, and of the sun. This photo had no place in this article.

  37. Avatar

    Ryan Patrick

    January 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Well stated, and the best point anyone has made.

  38. Avatar

    Bill Volckening

    February 1, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Remove picture #4 and add a picture of Ferguson, Missouri. But don’t do it because Michael Brown’s death was racial profiling. Do it because it wasn’t!

  39. Avatar


    February 1, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Well said.

  40. Avatar


    February 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you for stating this, I was thinking the same thing.

  41. Avatar


    February 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you for stating this.

  42. Avatar


    February 2, 2015 at 3:42 am

    The list of historical screw ups in this article is quite long.

    As has been mentioned, the ‘Swastika’ in #4 is actually quite often seen in historical artwork related to Asia.

    Not entirely sure what #s 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 have to do with racism. Aside from them being related to Germany, which Germany itself isn’t racist, it’s a tract of land in Europe.

    #13 Adolf Hitler actually had 5 siblings. Since the caption may imply that Paula was the last of the Hitler children left alive, we can’t really say its wrong since it could be a misunderstanding.

    I found #27 humourous because it says ‘fists’ when if you look, there are two right hands sticking through the bars. Maybe I’m just being too literal.

  43. DeadState


    February 4, 2015 at 2:59 am

    This was quite a long list of non-screw ups. You obviously didn’t even read the caption of #4.

  44. Avatar

    Bilal Akhtar

    March 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    This post seem to target Hitler only and all others who had human zoo’s and human display centers.

  45. Avatar


    March 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Let’s get this straight. Race is a human/social construct designed primarily for control and manipulation. Racism is demonstrated when one race of people have the means to impact and thereby control the lives of another race of people. The Black Panthers did not control the American system of government, nor any other system for that matter.

  46. Avatar


    April 5, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    It says it was included to show that the symbol itself was used long before Hitler turned it into such a negative symbol. It is not suggesting the hockey team were racist, quite the opposite.

  47. Pingback: Picture of the day: civil disobedience

  48. Avatar


    June 8, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Why is there no mention of the fact the Democrat Party created and nurtured the KKK?

  49. Avatar

    copie bracelet or jaune cartier

    June 8, 2017 at 4:30 am

    cartierlovejesduas Grazie Mauro, in bocca al lupo per futuri incarichi!
    copie bracelet or jaune cartier http://www.supercawatch.cn/fr/cartier-love-yellow-gold-bracelet-imitation-with-screw-driver-b6035516-p658/

  50. Avatar

    cartier love copie

    June 8, 2017 at 4:31 am

    cartierlovejesduas Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently fast.
    cartier love copie http://www.gioiellipopolare.ru/fr/cartier-copy-love-necklace-pink-gold-a-ring-covered-with-diamonds-pendant-p572

  51. Avatar

    imitazione anelli cartier

    June 8, 2017 at 4:31 am

    cartierlovejesduas One in six fertilized eggs is miscarried on its own.
    imitazione anelli cartier http://www.bestcalove.ru/it/the-fashion-fake-cartier-love-ring-white-gold-set-six-diamonds-b4032500-p777/

  52. Avatar

    cartierlovejesduas Both my sister and I have degrees from private universities.
    replica van cleef and arpels white gold alhambra necklace http://www.venditegioielli.ru/replica-alhambra-van-cleef-arpels-white-gold-necklace-vcara42400-p49/

  53. Avatar


    June 13, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I get pleasure from, lead to I discovered exactly what I was looking for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  54. Avatar


    June 14, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Appreciating the hard work you put into your blog and detailed information you offer. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  55. Avatar


    June 14, 2017 at 12:10 am

    I discovered your weblog web site on google and check a few of one’s early posts. Continue to keep up the really superior operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Searching for forward to reading more from you later on!

  56. Avatar

    vidmate apk

    June 14, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your site and thorough material you provide. It’s nice to find a website every now and then which is just not the similar outdated rehashed information. Awesome read! We have bookmarked your site and I am including the RSS feeds to our vidmate new version webpage.

  57. Avatar

    vidmate app download for android

    June 14, 2017 at 2:41 am

    You are absolutely right and I definitely agree with you. When you want, we might as well chat around vidmate app, a thing which intrigues me. Your website is certainly amazing, best wishes!

  58. Avatar

    Wholesale Jerseys

    June 14, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Unlike most coffee products offered on the market today, you could enjoy cup after cup or mug after mug of Caffe Veronica and have only excellent roasted aftertaste that is never bitter. 6 after appearing in 99 games this season. Most sportsrelated concussions come from contact sports, especially football, boxing, hockey, and martial arts. As dropshippers you can start to deal with a lot of companies. Georgia Tech football has one of the most storied traditions and historical memories in College FootballHere a re just a few that TECH fans all remember:The Cumberland Game.

  59. Avatar

    kik messenger download

    June 15, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Hello there! I just came across your site and I honestly like it. I also love to speak about kik messenger app occasionally. Great to be here, many thanks!

  60. Avatar

    download kik

    June 15, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Thank you so much for discussing this info, I saved this website. I’m also in need of information regarding kik messenger download, are you aware the place where I can come across a thing like that? I’ll be back quickly!

  61. Avatar

    mobdro for windows

    June 15, 2017 at 5:01 am

    I’m really enjoying the theme of your blog. Do you run into any kind of internet browser interface problems? A number of my blog audience have lamented regarding my mobdro free app for android website not working appropriately in Internet Explorer though seems awesome in Firefox. Have you got any suggestions to aid correct the matter?

  62. Avatar

    prayer for financial miracle

    June 16, 2017 at 3:14 am

    I want to express some thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this particular predicament. Because of searching through the internet and coming across notions which were not productive, I assumed my life was well over. Being alive minus the answers to the issues you have fixed by way of the short article is a critical case, and those which may have adversely damaged my entire career if I had not encountered the website. Your good mastery and kindness in handling everything was useful. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t encountered such a solution like this. It’s possible to now relish my future. Thank you so much for the professional and sensible guide. I won’t be reluctant to recommend your blog to any person who would like counselling about this area.

  63. Avatar

    indoor hydroponic garden

    June 16, 2017 at 4:07 am

    I’m not sure why but this weblog is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  64. Avatar

    mobdro apk

    June 16, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Hey can you inform me which platform you are dealing with? I am seeking to get started on my personal website on mobdro for iphone soon yet I’m having a tough time choosing.

  65. Avatar

    beard grooming products

    June 17, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Hi there! I understand this is kind of off-topic but I had to ask. Does building a well-established website like yours take a massive amount work? I am completely new to writing a blog however I do write in my diary daily. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

  66. Avatar


    June 19, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

  67. Avatar


    June 19, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  68. Avatar

    you could check here

    June 19, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    I simply want to mention I am new to blogging and site-building and certainly loved your page. Likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You certainly have really good articles. Appreciate it for sharing with us your blog site.

  69. Avatar

    kik app

    June 21, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Hello there, what do you really feel around kik desktop? Very trendy topic, huh?

  70. Avatar

    bluestacks latest version

    June 21, 2017 at 9:50 am

    You are absolutely right. I really liked reading through this article and I will get back for more right away. Our site is about bluestacks free download for pc, you can take a peek if you happen to be still interested in that.

  71. Avatar

    download garageband

    June 22, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Appreciating the hard work you put into your site and comprehensive facts you offer. It really is good to come across a site every now and then which is just not the similar out of date rehashed content. Wonderful read! I have saved your webpage and I am adding your RSS feeds to my garageband for mac website.

  72. Avatar

    Instagram APK

    June 22, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Hello I’m truly happy I came across your webpage, I basically discovered you by mistake, when I was searching on Bing for tubemate for pc. Nonetheless I am here right now and would just enjoy to say thanks for a tremendous article and the overall enjoyable site (I likewise enjoy the theme/design), I do not have sufficient time to browse it all at the minute though I have saved it and also added your RSS feed, so once I have enough time I will be back to read a great deal more. Please do keep up the excellent work.

  73. Avatar

    Clicking Here

    June 23, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I just want to say I am new to blogs and seriously liked your blog. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your site . You actually have terrific articles. Appreciate it for revealing your web site.

  74. Avatar

    Knockoff cartier bangle gold plated

    June 26, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I love Feedjit, it’s awesome. Maybe it’s because I’m a newbie (I’ve only had my blog 3 months) and I don’t get a lot of traffic so I get really excited when I can see in real time that someone is actually on my site. A bit sad isn’t it? My favorite part is how they’ve used the flags to show which country the viewers are from.
    Knockoff cartier bangle gold plated http://www.lovebangles.org/category/cartier-love-bracelet-gold-plated-replica

  75. Avatar

    cartier love bangles replica

    June 26, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    There is a public jetty at Woy Woy Bay. Not to sure about Phegans and Horsfield?
    cartier love bangles replica http://www.vogue-tour.net/tag/cartier-love-bangles-replica

  76. Avatar

    imitation cartier love bangle yellow

    June 26, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Oh, SKIPPY, how we love thee. And who can resist a Bundt? What a fabulous cake, Cheryl!
    imitation cartier love bangle yellow http://www.goldlovejewelry.com/category/rose-gold-cartier-love-bangle/

  77. Avatar

    puffco plus stopped working

    June 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    95691 380787Very clean website , thanks for this post. 195129

  78. Avatar

    Tammera Nozick

    June 28, 2017 at 3:37 am

    We can’t honestly say that we weren’t surprised and impressed by the sheer ingenuity of the Twerking Butt.|The employees at Scripps Ranch Higher College discussed a twerking incident involving students in a letter addressed to a school trustee.|

  79. Avatar

    feminist shirt nasa

    June 30, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Very nice post. I absolutely appreciate this website.

    Keep it up!

  80. Avatar

    sports documentaries

    August 8, 2017 at 6:03 am

    After I originally commented I appеar to have cliked the -Notify me when new comments аre added- checkbox аnd noԝ each timme ɑ comment is added I receive four emails wіth tһe ѕame comment.

    Iѕ there a ԝay you can remove me from that service?


  81. Avatar

    graficas em osasco

    September 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Click Print from the menu on the left of the screen. https://nyjlife.com/2017/01/welcome/

  82. Avatar


    October 6, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging
    on sites I stumbleupon every day. It’s always exciting to read through
    content from other writers and use something from their web sites.

  83. Avatar


    July 10, 2020 at 6:39 am

    Great goods from you, man. I have take into account your stuff prior to and you are just too wonderful.
    I really like what you have obtained right here, really like what you’re saying and the way in which wherein you assert it.
    You make it entertaining and you still care for to stay it sensible.
    I cant wait to read much more from you. That is actually a tremendous web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

To Top