"Robert H. McNeill, 87, whose photographs of African American life in Washington and Virginia during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s pushed viewers to focus on the ordinary and extraordinary lives of black Americans, died May 27 at Georgetown University Hospital of complications from diabetes.
A native Washingtonian, Mr. McNeill took up the camera as a student at Dunbar Senior High School and over the years turned his lens on the rich life around him, from portraits of hogshead barrel makers in rural Virginia to families at the National Zoo on Easter weekend to the world-famous entertainers and sports figures who swept through the District's U Street venues and Griffith Stadium.
His work, in rich blacks, whites and shades of gray, artfully explored the segregation and racism that were part of life for African Americans in the mid-Atlantic region in mid-century. Late in life, his prints grew famous and were included in numerous national exhibitions, traveling shows and books. His work also is found on many historical markers along U Street." - Patricia Sullivan, The Washington Post