The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley has acquired its first archival collection of an African American photographer. The library has received more than 5,000 negatives and photographic prints from 91-year-old photographer David Johnson.
Johnson grew up in segregated Jacksonville, Florida. He came to San Francisco to study under Ansel Adams at the California School of Fine Arts. He operated a small photography studio in the predominantly Black Fillmore District in San Francisco and also held a job with the U.S. Postal Service.
Johnson’s life story is told in the book A Dream Begun So Long Ago: The Story of David Johnson, Ansel Adams’ First African American Student (KhedCanRon Publishing, 2012).