Spoons and photos from the Andrew Kwiatt collection
words and editing by Wayne Bednersh

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Note: very few spoons are as stereotyped and racist as these pieces

spoon blacks smiling

Three hand engraved spoons showing black men with a happy face

spoon black menspoon with blacks and alligator

Three hand engraved spoons (left) - -each showing portraits of three black men
The top right is similar to the  middle left spoon, but the left spoon refers to the men as "Virginia mascots" which is quite racist and the top right spoon
refers to these same men as "three happy coons". It is most likely that both spoons were made by the same engraver.
The three blacks sitting on an alligator holding watermelons again plays into the stereotypes. Of course there are a lot of Florida spoons with alligators.

spoon black men playing a banjo

Three hand engraved spoons showing a black man playing a banjo.
The third one is a gold washed bowl with further treatments to get the effect

spoon black men chicken
Two hand engraved bowls showing a black man with a stick which has a dead animal attached.
The left one looks like a raccoon (coon) which is a double entendre play on the racist name "coon'
The right one looks like a chicken.

spoon blacks farming

Three hand engraved spoon bowls showing blacks engaged in farming activities
The middle spoon says "stolen sweets" which re-inforces the image of the untrustworthy black worker.
The left spoon says "cotton picker" which is a racist slur to represent a black person, or person of African heritage
The right spoon says "picking cotton" and is also a play on the term "cotton picker" 

spoon black men racist

Two hand engraved bowls showing black men.
The first is called a "mascot" which makes it rather racist
The rightmost spoon has the man eating a watermelon.

spoon black baby older woman
Two hand engraved bowls
The left picture shows a baby with an uplifted arm
The right picture shows an older woman and is labeled "solid comfort"

spoon racist blacks

Three hand engraved spoon bowls
The middle bowl is "uncle Tom"
The right picture shows a black man eating a watermelon and is derisively  labeled --"a coon feast"
The left spoon says "I'se from Lexington" which is a play on speech accents.

spoon blacks
Two very  racist hand engraved spoon bowls
The left spoon shows a black man looking at a raccoon in a tree and is labeled "two coons"
The right spoon shows a black man and is labeled "I'se a  hot potato" which makes fun of speech patterns

Return to Black spoons exhibit

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