Family Reunion!


Family Reunion! The most heartwarming moment of my entire career came last Saturday evening when my son Erin (shoots tv docs) and I met the Liggins family from my “Tell It Like It Is” book project from 1967. 6 of the 9 family members still living and in a family owned house just 4 blocks from the original tenement building where I had photographed them 47 years ago in Norfolk, Va. Erin filmed the reunion. I had lost contact with the family when I went off to grad school. A new version of “Tell It Like It Is” will be published in 2015 along with the 37 contact sheets that comprised the whole take. Piece of history. This photo taken of all of us on Saturday by Derica White,11, grand-daughter of Lois Liggins (center) who was 7 yrs old when I shot the essay and was the cover subject of the original book. Lois now aids troubled teens. Another era. Another America. This whole story has many chapters. Then and now. Stay tuned.

6 Responses to “Family Reunion!”

  • That’s pretty amazing David!

  • Did you have a hard time finding them or was it a simple affair?
    Are you including photographs from this reunion in the upcoming “tell it like it is”?

  • Well this is great. Can’t imagine how this moment felt for you david. To come full circle. A new beginning with this family?

  • !!!…

    a book i’ve wait for for a long time….THIS PICTURES should be on the Author’s back-jacket!!!!!!

    this must be in the book or at least the author’s pic at the back…

    so happy for you and for this family!!!..

    a book, i’m sure, will light up fire next year :)


    it was not easy to find the family , until it became easy….i hit the streets..door to door stuff…stopping people on the street showing them the original book and asking them if they knew the family..of course it would have taken somebody who knew the family prior to recognise them…then the local newspaper picked up on what i was doing and did a major big story on my search..within a few hours of publication, Lois Liggins sent me a simple email saying “that is my family”…bingo!!! she was a sweetheart then and is now…the amazing thing is that i literally walked past the family house a few times in my search…but never saw anyone at that particular house….

    turns out the REASON we did not have the names was because the father James at the time did not want their names published….there was nothing in the pictures that was negative, but somehow i think he may have been embarrassed to be in a book that spoke of urban poverty…perhaps understandable from his point of view even though he was friendly with me at the time and allowed me to stay in his apartment with the family… was a different time…and again this book was published just 4 months before Dr.Martin Luther King assassination…lots changed after…..


    i know well you have always had an interest in this project..signed book coming to you upon publication….yes, you are right about the Derica picture….i need to use it somehow..i am still trying to decide what to do with anything i shoot now with the family…it is sort of a magazine story ..many things have happened to the family in 47 years which i cannot reveal now, but there is a great backstory…i want to publish the Tell It Like It Is book now pretty close to the original except for adding the contact sheets which are really the best part…

    abrazos, david

  • David,

    All the elements of a real saga!

    Hoping to see the footage one day as well.

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