Sunday, September 26, 2010

Black Face & how it used to be acceptable

After my mother died, I was cleaning out loads of her things, of course, and I ran across her old Woman's club book from when she was a president. The era: 1950s. She kept a scrapbook and throughout the book were several photos of women dressed up in Black face for programs that they did.

I gave the scrapbook to the ladies of the woman's club today, and some were shocked that this was in their history.. I teased them threatening to show them to the local newspaper!! (i was kidding!!)
Yet, as I go thru stacks of other peoples would be surprised how much I have run into this..not just the 1920s..but all the way to the 50s...

This photo was from another estate..a show that a group was doing..much like my moms womans club..I think it is 40s/50s era...and when i look at these..i am sad that this was our past...but happy that this is no longer our present..i know we have a long way to go...but we have come a long way...



Mike Brubaker said...

A very interesting example of how amateur groups used the popular stereotypes of their time. Minstrel shows go back to the middle of the 19th century and were part of the traveling shows that provided small town America with entertainment when live performances were the only medium for fun.

As these black-face shows became more common over the decades, they turned into cliches like Saturday Night Live skits. EVERYONE knew the funny gags and the format of the humor. I've found many newspaper records in the early 1900's of small towns - north, south ,east, west - that produced their own versions of these shows, usually with a local person writing topical jokes, as benefits for community charities.

To continue into the 1950's demonstrates the staying power of humor, even when it is offensive and diminishing of a ethnic or racial group. I agree that with your sentiments and it is good we have long moved past this kind of stage play. But it is our collective history and should not be forgotten.

I enjoy your ebay photos and really like your blog. I have a similar photoblog with my collection.

Cathi said...

Thank you so much for your comment..and i did go and see your blog!! thank you!!

i do agree..that we cannot forget our order to know who we are..we have to see where we have been..

thanks again

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