Golliwogs and Other Things
I have visited the Jim Crow Museum site and am
completely amazed at what I have read there. What a
gift you have given in providing information never
before addressed anywhere. For example, I was under
the impression that Golliwog dolls were benign and
were based on children's books which I (stupidly)
thought were something other than what they have
turned out to be! In fact, a few years ago, I had
ordered one of these dolls from England, not having an
awareness of their pejorative intent.
While I'm on the subject of true confessions, I'll
have to say that I collected a pair of salt and pepper
shakers, like the very Mammy one that you broke. I
thought they were "cute."
Having lived in the north most of my life, and out
west for only four years or so, when I was in my
twenties, I have not seen the ugly side of prejudice.
Before now, there have been virtually few
African-Americans living in New Hampshire. Recently,
we have had an influx of real Africans who are being
assisted by church groups in establishing a new life
I wonder how much of what parades as bigotry is not
based on malice after all but in a lack of awareness
on the part of white folks, like me.
So far, I have only had time to read two of your
essays - about Golliwogs, and why you collect rascist
objects. What you have said comes through loud and
clear. Material objects which depict your people have
been and are a source of real psychological hurt and
pain for you, and you have struggled and succeeded in
establishing yourself as a credentialed professor, in
spite of any obstacles, some of which you note.
Thank you for sharing your experiences in a poignant
and graphic way. I am certainly much more cognizant of
the greater implications of certain material objects
and the ways in which they could influence thinking. I
don't blame you for wanting to get the collection out
of your home and away from small children. I hope that
now that they are older, they will realize all of
your accomplishments, including your ongoing work to
spread knowledge of the Black Experience in America.
I wish you a fine day,
-- Feb. 17, 2006
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