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Elizabeth Williams (photographer)

  (Redirected from Elizabeth "Tex" Williams)

Elizabeth "Tex" Williams (born 1924) is an African-American photographer. She joined the Women's Army Corps in 1944 at the age of 20 as one of the few African-American women photographers in the military.[1]

Elizabeth "Tex" Williams
EducationFort Monmouth, New Jersey, Photo School
Known forPhotography
MovementWomen's Army Corps, Photography


Life and educationEdit

Williams was born in Houston in 1924,[2] where she was raised in a working-class family.[1] She served in the Women's Army Corps, where she was stationed in Iowa and Arizona. She later retired to Huachuca City, Arizona.[3]

Williams was educated at Photographic Division School in New Jersey with honors and graduated as valedictorian[3] because the army did not allow African Americans in the military's school for photography.[4]


Williams worked in the Women's Army Corps as a photographer[1] from 1944 to 1970.[4] She was stationed at the all-black base in Iowa because the military was still segregated.[1]

Williams photographed all things military. She took intelligence photos, medicine, defense, and ID pictures.[3] Since the military was segregated until the Executive Order 9981,[4] she had taken many photos of African Americans.[3] Within and outside of the military, Williams photographed the "New Negro" that changed the stereotypical narrative of African Africans.[2] Cameras were her mask from the violence of the military.[3]


Williams is considered by many[by whom?] to be a pioneer black woman photographer in a society where few are acknowledged for their talents and works or even known.[3] Scholars[who?] have argued that she defied the odds by being a successful black woman photographer.[1] She was also the only women to photograph the air force.[5]

Williams became one of the few African Americans and women to do photography for the military.[1] According to scholars,[who?] the intersectionality of race and gender were major forces stacked against her.[1] It was hard for African Americans and women to become successful photographers especially in the military. Scholars[who?] have reported that women of the time were supposed to take pictures only for nightclubs.[1] Also, African Americans were barred from army photography schools and training programs, so she had to go to Photographic Division School in New Jersey, where she was the first woman and African American to graduate from there.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ellis, Jacqueline (1998). Silent witnesses : representations of working-class women in the United States. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press. ISBN 9780879727444. OCLC 36589970.
  2. ^ a b Finkelman, Paul (2009). Encyclopedia of African American history, 1896 to the present : from the age of segregation to the twenty-first century. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195167791. OCLC 239240886.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne (1993). Viewfinders : black women photographers. New York: Writers & Readers Pub. ISBN 9780863161599. OCLC 29733207.
  4. ^ a b c Winegarten, Ruthe; Sharon Kahn (1997). Brave Black women : from slavery to the space shuttle (1st ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292791077. OCLC 35325273.
  5. ^ Calvin, Paula E.; Deborah A. Deacon (2011). American women artists in wartime, 1776–2010. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 9780786449873. OCLC 707825583.