Abstract: The reluctance of some communities to participate in research and researchers' lack of penetration into the community are major stumbling blocks to successful community-based approaches. The authors'purpose is to determine how a photovoice project in a lower income, African American, urban community was able to generate a social process that resulted in active grassroots participation in a community-campus partnership. Through this partnership initiative, the authors asked neighborhood residents to take photographs of things in the community of which they were proud and the things they wanted to change, and to tell the story of why these were important. The authors used strategies from visual anthropology to analyze the 54 photographs, stories, and dialogue produced. Their analysis identified three distinct levels of cognitive-emotional interpretations that moved participants out of helplessness toward authentic engagement and participation. The authors discuss implications and lessons learned for community-based participatory research.