Antonio Dickey is a photojournalist based in Chicago who has forever immortalized some of history’s most memorable events. Campaign photographer of Harold Washington notwithstanding, Dickey has a permanent exhibit in both the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Harold Washington Library in Chicago.
Can I admit that finding prominent Black movers and shakers for the site has secretly made my school-loving self happy? I’m reminded of the joy that I had from learning about someone new and I’ve found that I’m being connected with so many amazing Black folks from my own city. Back to the spotlight.
Black History Spotlight | Antonio Dickey
Dickey got started with photography after high school when he first picked up a used Canon camera. He started photographing events and people around his neighborhood and researching the skills he needed to become a photographer. At the suggestion of one of his neighbors, he applied to shoot high school sports for the Chicago Defender. After a year and a half, he was hired full-time as a photographer.
He sent a telegram – that’s a way that we sent text messages quickly in the 80s kids – to Harold Washington’s camp to ask if he could volunteer to be one of the campaign photographers. He got the job and he was able to capture the historical election of Chicago’s first Black mayor. Even though I was just a toddler, I heard stories about Mayor Washington for YEARS as a child, and Chicago has many amazing structures and buildings branded with his name.
I want people to remember what people looked like and what people were doing in the city. Not just the big shots, but the people who made the city run.”Antonio Dickey
So many of the big moments in Black history in Chicago have been captured by his camera. He’s been among the Black royalty as well as with the common Chicagoan. I often wish to spend long days capturing the amazingness of my city. Maybe Dickey coming across my feed is the sign that I need.
I want you all to know how hard it is to find photographs of a photographer. Maybe I can reach out and see if Mr. Dickey will sit for me in a proper interview. So many amazing people that I want to talk to and so little time. I’d love to interview him on the farm especially since he’s been capturing a lot of the revitalization and the historical beauty of the Pullman neighborhood here on the South Side. It’s just East of us, hence, why we’re called West Pullman.
Antonio Dickey and others in his career are so important in preserving the history of neighborhoods, cities, and states. Pouring over photos from my parents and grandparents has provided hours of awe and longing for a time that I had never known. I know that through his captures of regular life around the city of Chicago – a fine city if I do say so myself – generations long after I’ve departed this Earthly plane will be able to see the city that I love in a way that is perfectly exposed.