|April 22nd, 1918|
|Front page of USA Today|
(the photos are cropped out)
|The Editor found herself part of the story|
One of the striking things about minstrelsy here in Salem is how strongly it is implicated, often outright centered, in establishment and official forms of civic culture. Even more, there is a nexus of talk about "freedom" and instances of minstrelsy, as if in order to talk about "freedom" we had to invoke the paradigmatic instance of unfreedom in America. This patterning in what we might have considered mere "play" extends across the decades and shows how deeply rooted it is, even here. It's too deep to consider play, and instead is something serious about the way we have envisioned "freedom." (Want some Hegel with that? You got it.)
This mainstream popularity is not exceptional, in fact, and it is very unlikely that Salem is at all unusual in aligning minstrelsy with civic affairs and popular culture.
|Now at the NYT, Jamelle Bouie via Twitter|
|Favorite architect Charles Burggraf performed|
in blackface in 1896 on the 4th of July (July 6th)
|Two troupes, with Burggraf again|
Also note the Hinges,
probably the in-laws of Hallie Parish Hinges
(January 23rd, 1897)
|March 7th, 1908|
And then in the 19-teens, the Cherrians, maybe the most Establishment of all the fraternal organizations, one closely identified with the city of Salem and its political and commercial elite, also participated in minstrelsy.
|The Cherrians were at the center of the Salem Establishment |
3 July 1916 and see this on the 4th of July celebrations
|Cherrians in the 1916 Cherry Fair, escorting the Queen|
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
|April 24th, 1918|
|May 16th, 1918|
Nearly two generations later, here's a smaller notice from 1950. It also aligned minstrelsy with civic culture and explicit talk about "freedom."
|Statesman, September 26th, 1950|
This alignment of patriotism and minstrelsy should unsettle us to the bones.
In honor of its 80th anniversary, the 1939 epic will be shown at select theaters for two days only at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. both Thursday, Feb. 28, and Sunday, March 3, presented by Warner Bros. and Fathom Events.The time for enjoying the film uncritically as entertainment should be past, and we should want to see it also as historical text, a problematic thing full of tension, erasure, and idealization. It is time for a more ambivalent appreciation of the film.
The film, which received 10 Academy Awards and has an inflation-adjusted domestic gross of $1.8 billion, is considered one of the most popular movies of all time.
Set in the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, the story follows Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), a southern belle who is set on preserving her family's plantation and winning the man she loves, Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). But complications occur with the arrival of another man, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).
On the 25th, OPB will broadcast an episode of the Oregon Experience on "Oregon's Black Pioneers." This will better center the experience and agency of Black Pioneers and other early African-Americans in their own words and deeds.