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In the late 1890's the general populace had a great many stereotypes
about people of different races and nationalities. There was
widespread hatred and prejudices against new immigrants and in
particular the poorer immigrants from Italy, South Eastern Europe,
Irish, and Jews.
 In the western USA, there was widespread prejudice against Chinese and Japanese..
 These peoples were widely considered to be "sub
human" , dirty, of low morals and never capable of becoming "good

spoon Lincoln freeing the slaves

American Negro's were also considered to be lazy and indolent, and despite
their integration within society as a result of Civil War emancipation,
 the middle and upper classes of the
1890's - 1920's considered them to be of low morals, ignorant and
only fit for the poorest jobs in society.
 At this time in history there was
a thriving community of small Negro entrepreneurs and a developing
middle class, but stereotypes are not affected by facts.

This spoon was produced in the 1960's. It is sterling.

Silver Souvenir Spoons were primarily purchased by the upper middle
and wealthier classes in the 1890's - 1920 time period, thus the images about Blacks which were
portrayed were highly stereotyped. Negroes were almost always
shown with big smiles and were often shown eating watermelon or
loafing or fishing or doing 'menial labor' jobs.

Most of the spoons of this genre are stereotyped in this manner but are
fairly benign. In a few cases, however, the spoons are highly racist. I
personally DO NOT AGREE with these stereotypes and have avoided
producing this exhibit for many years, but the historian in me feels that it
is necessary to show these types of spoons, and the amount of mail I
receive about this subject indicates that there is an interest. At this time,
spoons portraying Black People are highly sought after and are valued
collectibles (although I don't understand it). A great many different
varieties of these spoons are available and there are now several different exhibits.

spoon African

WARNING: some readers may find some of these spoons
to be offensive, therefore, please return to the exhibit page
if you would be offended by these images.

By clicking the links below, you are affirming that you will NOT be
offended by these images.

Engraved stereotyped images of blacks

Black spoons of  historical importance

Frederick Douglass exhibit

Black stereotyped spoons (embossed)

Black stereotyped spoons of watermelon eaters (embossed)

Return to Spoon Exhibits Index