The University of North Carolina at Asheville has received the archives of photographer Isaiah Rice. A local deliveryman and beverage distributor, Rice also was an amateur photographer who used small cameras to take pictures of everyday life in Asheville’s African American community during the post-World War II era. Blacks were about 20 percent of the city’s population during this period
After graduating from high school in Asheville, Rice worked for the federal Work Progress Administration in the 1930s before being drafted into the Army. As a deliveryman, he photographed people at church, his neighbors and friends as they gathered for social events, folks attending parades and football games, as well as many scenes of people working and going about their business in downtown Asheville. Rice died in 1980.
The collection contains photographs, slides, and negatives. The photos were donated to the university’s Special Collections unit by Rice’s daughter, Marian R. Waters, and his grandson, UNC Asheville history professor Dr. Darin Waters.
An exhibition containing blowups of 40 works from the collection is now on display through August 24 at the Eagle Market Place Community Exhibition Space in Asheville.