Throughout Richard Roberts’ works, the image of “The New Negro” is personified; that after years of slavery, there are now new opportunities, along with freedom, and upwards mobility. Roberts loved working in his studio, and was fascinated with the ways in which his subjects wanted to be photographed, so there is a sense of dignity in his works. These images work to break period stereotypes, and to faithfully capture the spirits of African-Americans in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The key word used to describe Richard Roberts’ collection is “dignity.”
Richard Roberts died of pneumonia in 1936, but his name and legacy will live on, with the over ten thousand photographs he took during his career.