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Bill Traylor has become an almost mythical figure in the history of American folk art. Born into slavery in 1854, he began to draw only at the age of 82 in 1939, when he moved from the plantation where he was born to Montgomery, Alabama. From his observations on Montgomery’s Monroe Avenue and his memories of his life on the plantation, he created his own original pictorial world. This book presents not only Traylor’s compellingly naive drawings but also fascinating documentary photographs that reveal the daily life of southern blacks – in particular Traylor and his milieu. These photographs, taken by Charles Shannon and by the Swiss journalist Annemarie Schwarzenbach, reminiscent of the works of Walker Evans, capture the atmosphere of Montgomery and rural Alabama at the same time as Traylor was beginning to draw.