African Americans have a history of turning oppression on its head. During the slave trade, Africans were unable to be legally married because slave owners and politicians believed that granting them that right would hinder business. Marriage, however, was necessary as shipping humans from Africa had become costly and breeding slaves had become more appealing than shipping them. Slave owners therefore allowed slaves to marry in symbolic ceremonies that ended in the jumping of the broom–a tradition that had been brought to the states by the Irish. Once slavery was abolished in 1865, and African Americans were legally allowed to marry one another, the tradition died out in most communities. It wasn’t until Alex Haley’s Roots, a book that fueled the Black Power Movement of the late 70s and the 80s, that Black people decided to reclaim the tradition–creating beautifully symbolic brooms to jump over in modern ceremonies.
Couples today continue the practice as an ode to those who have come before them–to the slaves who for so long were considered inhuman and were deprived of a true legal marriage. This is why we, at JPG, take our jobs so seriously. As Philadelphia photographers and photojournalists, we want to capture every precious, crazy, heartfelt and funny moment of your wedding because we recognize what it means to walk down that aisle and before the eyes of friends, family and government, confess your love for the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. So, this Black History Month, we celebrate those observing the history of their ancestors while making their own.
Imani, The Fabulous Blogger