What do you make of this unusual picture?  It was taken by photographer Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr., circa 1894. It’s got a mysterious quality to it.

Some unusual things about it: there are relatively few pictures from the 1890s that feature black Americans. The people look poor, judging by the clothing and the setting, and at the time, photographs were expensive. Most professional photos were taken in studios, and Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr., was a well-known photographer.

More than that, it’s got a quality of longing to it… at least that’s how it strikes me.

Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. 1894 (LOC)