“These people lived the backside of life, and they saw things different than if you had money and were careful what you said.”
— Richard Pryor
Below you can find a wide array of documents related to the Pryor family, from the early decades of the twentieth century to the late-1970s. For at least three generations before him, Richard Pryor’s relatives on his paternal side made their living in the underground economy—first in Decatur, Illinois, then in Peoria. The documents below open onto their entanglements with the law and onto the lives they pursued inside and outside its shadow.