Saving Black Americana

| February 21, 2001

Saving Black Americana, Gene Hetzel, Desert Post Weekly
Think smiling Sambo or Aunt Jemima, and you begin to get an idea of the stereotypes used in Black Americana, a once-popular line of collectible artwork that depicted African Americans through racist lenses. Though commonplace in this country from 1850 to 1930, Black Americana is becoming more and more scarce as wealthy African Americans buy up and destroy the racist items. But hold on, says African-American student and dealer of Black Americana Gerald Diggs. There's history in this artwork. 'The ugliness of hate is only truly broached and dealt with when you bring yourself face to face with it,' said Diggs. 'The destruction of these derogatory pieces serves to turn a social monster that could be faced honestly into a silhouette that hovers over us all, ever more powerful without challenge.'
--Anjula Razdan
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