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Recently rereleased book explores black South of early 20th century

Thirty-three years after it was first published, a book co-edited by Mathews resident Phillip C. Dunn has recently been updated and rereleased by the University of South Carolina Press.

The book, “A True Likeness: The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts, 1920-1936,” made a posthumous celebrity of a Depression-era photographer who died in virtual anonymity a half-century earlier. “A True Likeness,” Dunn said, has had a significant impact in the fields of photography and African American studies.

Dunn, who now resides in Cobbs Creek where he operates Phil Dunn Photography, has retired from his position as professor of art at the University of South Carolina. While there, he spent almost three years restoring nearly 4,000 glass-plate negatives that have become the legacy of Richard Samuel Roberts.

Dunn noted that he “spent all that time alone in a dark room with the ghost of Richard Roberts.” 

During that time he worked closely with USC field...

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