MAMMIES, COONS & PICKANINNIES
NOT ALL BLACK FOLKS EAT WATERMELON
The following exhibition focuses on imagery from the 19th and early 20th Centuries in order to further help viewers examine and better understand how culturally the perpetuation of racial stereotypes through the use of visual imagery has helped shape society’s present day views concerning people of color.
“He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past. History is written by the winners." - George Orwell
If history is written by the victor, it should be duly noted that surely more than anything else, the victor’s removal of positive imagery to be replaced with negative imagery is the most effective method of reminding and defining those who are indeed the losers.
Mammy’s, Coon’s, Pickininnies, seeks to examine how over time society introduced into popular culture stereotypical blueprints against people of color that are still very much alive today. So entwined are these stereotypes within communities that it is impossible today to say what was produced as intentional and what was produced unintentionally. The exhibition will examine original publications, engravings, Victorian trade (business) cards, household products, advertising, postcards, souvenirs, and sheet music. Many of the stereotypes have become so engrained in popular culture that even the people being caricatured believe then to be truths. - Terence E. Jackson