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Black history event planned for church

February 17, 2005

KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. - The St. Paul Baptist Church on W.Va. 9 in Kearneysville will hold an exhibit and presentation on noted photographer and Kearneysville native, Allen E. Cole, at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The event is being presented by the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society.

Cole was the 11th of 13 children born to blacksmith Allen Cole Sr. and Sara Cole on Sept 1, 1883, in Kearneysville.

A graduate of Storer College in 1905, Cole worked as a waiter in Atlantic City, N.J., a railroad porter and a real estate agent in Cincinnati.

After moving to Cleveland, Cole apprenticed with a local photographer. He opened his own studio in the early 1920s.

Cole became the city's most prominent black professional photographer to the black working class for almost 50 years, according to a news release.

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Cole died in 1970 at the age of 86.

A collection of Cole's personal correspondence, 30,000 negatives, 6,000 prints and other material has been extensively researched and is housed in the African-American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland.

The exhibit is open to the public.

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