This online exhibit represents the photographic work of David E. Apter, the Henry J. Heinz II Professor of Comparative Political and Social Development Emeritus at Yale. These photographs were taken to complement field research on African nationalism and the transition to independence from 1952 to 1960. They represent ordinary life during the last and final years of colonialism when expectations for a bright political future were running high, and the political and social complexities of life in a post-colonial world has not yet struck home.

The images shown in this exhibit were featured in two exhibits at Yale—one in 2002, the other in 2003. A catalog featuring many of the photographs from the exhibits is available for purchase at The photographs were acquired in 2002 and are part of the African Collections in the Manuscripts and Archives Department at Sterling Memorial Library.

Click on the right photo to see some other photos from the collection. Otherwise, proceed straight to the Manuscripts and Archives page which has the full collection of photos with descriptions.

David E. Apter : photo by Larissa Leclair