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This photograph taken in the 1920s by James (Credit: James T. Johnathan family)

This photograph taken in the 1920s by James T. Johnathan shows East Main Street in Bay Shore with its many specialty stores, hence the town's reputation for being "The Heart of the South Shore" for Long Island shopping.

LI in black and white

Over a career that spanned at least five decades, Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan used a camera to open a window into life on pre-suburban Long Island, including a small but determined black middle class that went mostly unnoticed before the 1960s. This month, the Suffolk County Historical Society is hosting a show of Johnathan's photographs at its gallery in Riverhead.

A photo of the First Baptist Church of
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

A photo of the First Baptist Church of Bay Shore, on Second Avenue, by the late Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan, in a display of his photos at the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead. (Feb. 1, 2012)

Kent Johnathan, who is the grandson of the
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

Kent Johnathan, who is the grandson of the late Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan, stands with his mother Ophelia Johnathan, who was married to one of James' sons. Near them is a display of James T. Johnathan's photos at the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead. (Feb. 1, 2012)

This photograph taken in the 1930s by the
(Credit: James T. Johnathan family)

This photograph taken in the 1930s by the Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan, looks east from West Main Street in Bay Shore, with the former Regent Theater which today is the Boulton Center for the Performing Arts.

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This photograph taken by the Bay Shore photographer
(Credit: James T. Johnathan family)

This photograph taken by the Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan in the 1940s is of the Bay Shore high School football team, including the water boy seated in the front row.

This self-protrait taken by the Bay Shore photographer
(Credit: James T. Johnathan family)

This self-protrait taken by the Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan in the 1920s shows him in his studio working on a picture of a "Doughboy."

This photo by James T. Johnathan from the
(Credit: James T. Johnathan family)

This photo by James T. Johnathan from the 1950s shows the Bay Shore High School marching band performing during in a parade.

James T. Johnathan took this 1957 photo of
(Credit: James T. Johnathan family)

James T. Johnathan took this 1957 photo of his son Charles Johnathan (father of Kent Johnathan) and his new bride, Ophelia Johnathan standing in front of St. Patrick's Church in Bay Shore.

James T. Johnathan took this photo of a
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

James T. Johnathan took this photo of a 35-foot whale shark caught by Sunrise Fish Co. off Fire Island. The Sunrise Fish Company later became White Cap. (Aug. 9, 1935)

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James T. Johnathan took this photograph of himself
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

James T. Johnathan took this photograph of himself with his automobile and an unidentified young boy, possibly in the early 1920s.

James T. Johnathan took this studio portrait of
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

James T. Johnathan took this studio portrait of Johnathan and His Rhythm Stars. This is an early photograph of the band. Pictured here are Ethel, Roslyn, Katherine and Kenneth Johnathan. (undated)

James T. Johnathan took this aerial shot of
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

James T. Johnathan took this aerial shot of Bay Shore High School, which opened in 1939 and had its first graduating class in 1940. Constructed in a neo-classical style, it is said to be the first $1 million high school built in New York State and one of Bay Shore's landmark buildings. The writing on the roof was painted by students as a directional guide for pilots in towards Roosevelt Field during World War II..

James T. Johnathan took this nighttime shot of
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

James T. Johnathan took this nighttime shot of West Main Street looking east with the Regent Theater in Bay Shore on the left and Goldy's Jewelers on the right. Goldy's motto was "Buy and Pay The Goldy's Way." (1950s)

The Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan took
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

The Bay Shore photographer James T. Johnathan took this self-portrait circa 1907.

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James T. Johnathan took this picture called
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

James T. Johnathan took this picture called "Baseball Team" in the 1920s. It's shows a Negro baseball team named Panther Athletic Club. The team may have taken its name from the Babylon Black Panthers, the first professional Negro League Baseball team formed in the town of Babylon at the turn of the century. To this day, in the Village of Babylon, all the school athletic teams are called "panthers" owing to the name of first professional Negro Baseball team formed by the wait staff and bellhops of the Argyle hotel near Argyle Park.

James T. Johnathan took this 1939 photo of
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

James T. Johnathan took this 1939 photo of a horse-drawn carriage carrying a placard for a Minstrel Review show sponsored by The Columbian Republican League as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross. Although eschewed now, Black Face Minstrel Shows were made popular by stars such as Al Jolson in the early part of the 20th century. The gentleman behind the wagon is Antoni Korol, father of the bride Wanda Korol and Bay Shore resident Susan Korol Sharkey.

The Johnathan Photo Studio was located on West
(Credit: James T. Johnathan)

The Johnathan Photo Studio was located on West Union Street as shown in this photo. James T. Johnathan opened the studio shortly after arriving in Bay Shore in 1916. The studio remained open until a few years after Johnathan's death in 1966. (circa 1916)

This photograph taken in the 1920s by James
(Credit: James T. Johnathan family)

This photograph taken in the 1920s by James T. Johnathan shows East Main Street in Bay Shore with its many specialty stores, hence the town's reputation for being "The Heart of the South Shore" for Long Island shopping.

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