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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
American Negro's were also considered to be lazy and indolent, and
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
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
personally DO NOT AGREE with these stereotypes and have avoided
producing this exhibit for many years, but the historian in me feels
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
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
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.
below, you are affirming that you will NOT be
offended by these images.
images of blacks
Black spoons of
Frederick Douglass exhibit
Black stereotyped spoons
Black stereotyped spoons of watermelon eaters (embossed)
Return to Spoon Exhibits Index