Looks like a very interesting book, published in 2009:
POSING BEAUTY: African American Images From the 1890s to the Present (Norton, $49.95)
Read the (very positive) NYT Review here.
With “Posing Beauty,” Willis has forever changed the conversation about beauty in American life. After centuries of exclusion and segregation in which African-American beauty existed on the margins of the culture, Willis offers readers a thoughtful and nuanced consideration of the relationship of beauty and power. She invites us to marvel at the glamour and elegance contained in the photographs, and in the process instructs us on how to expand the definition of beauty within our national imagination.
In the pages of “Posing Beauty,” readers can appreciate African-American men and women as dandies and debutantes, models and beauty queens, politicians and clubwomen across the generations. The book is a treasure, a triumph and a singular achievement that invites fresh and enduring insights with each viewing.