Craig James is an avid collector of 19th Century Black and African American Photography; he has been collecting for almost two decades. His passion for collecting lead him to a photograph of his Great-Great-Great Grandmother, Nursey James, a former slave in eastern North Carolina. Craig has amassed a collection consisting of more than 250 images of 19th Century Black and African American Photography.

His collection consists of Daguerreotypes, Tintypes, Ambrotypes, Cabinet Cards, Carte-De-Visites (CDVs), and Stereoviews. Craig is always excited to talk about his collection and remains eager to find the next great addition to his collection.

His collection has been the subject of discussion on The Tarheel Traveler, a WRAL News (2009), and The Story with Dick Gordon on WUNC NPR, (2008).

Additionally, his collection has been on exhibit at the following locations:

The Hayti Heritage Center, Durham, North Carolina
The Frank Creech Museum, Smithfield, North Carolina
The Heritage Center of Smithfield, Smithfield, NC
The Mebane Historical Society, Mebane, NC
The Public Library of Burgaw, Burgaw, NC
The Public Library of Smithfield, Smithfield, NC
Temporary Museum, Black History Month, Smithfield, NC (2015, 2017, 2019, 2020)

And featured in the following Publications:

SE North Carolina Magazine, Spring 2018, pp. 44-48
Wilmington Star News, February 2018
Cape Fear Living Magazine, July 2018, pp. 8-10

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The collector, Craig James, pictured beside his copy of The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, 1959 Edition, currently on loan with The NC Museum of History, Raleigh, NC, since 2018.