Sunday, April 19, 2009

Little Black Boy

Today we feature a photograph of a young Black boy. The picture was taken in 1897. I don't have any other information on the photograph. From the picture it is hard to tell whether this was just a candid shot of the child, or whether this was how he was made to look at part of a Vaudeville type show. The other possibility would be that he was some sort of street performer. In any case, I find it to be an interesting photograph.

10 comments:

  1. Such a pity that the background stories of some of these photos is unknown. It would be very interesting to know more about this little boy.

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  2. It appears he's in a photography studio, so I wouldn't guess it to be a candid.

    My mom collects old photos of strangers, and the mystery around them always makes me crazy. It also makes me sad that somewhere along the line, the families let go of these photos.

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  3. I agree it's a studio portrait. That, plus the slow speed of photography in that era, precludes "candid". Posed candid perhaps?

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  4. The not-knowing reminds me that I have a goal to identify my old-school photographs...and my digital ones.

    Wonder at whom he's looking; doesn't appear to be the photographer. Perhaps his buddy is playing some sort of mischief off camera.

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  5. there is something written on the box he is sitting on...looks like an address? might be a clue?

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  6. The box says Baker & Co LTD, Dorchester, MA.I'm betting that's Walter Baker the chocolate company that's now part of Kraft Foods.
    That's no help because they shipped world wide.

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  7. The banjo is not true to size. I love that his boot is untied.

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  8. The way he holds his left and right hand indicate he could play a banjo or guitar, but the banjo in the picture looks more like a photographer's prop: the strings run over the nut so high over the fretboard that this banjo would have been unplayable even for an aspiring little blues performer, who used all kinds of homemade instruments. I wish we could hear what he could play with his right intsrument. Anybody discovered a likeness in his face with some well-known blues guitarist of later years?

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  9. This is a pick a ninny picture. A caricature of a black person. It was only sold for that reason. It usually showed black people eating watermelon or looking like clowns. It was probably sold as a post card. These were the only pictures circulated of black people. They were meant to make black people sub-human. This pic was taken at the height of the lynching of black people in the U.S. Black people petitioned Washington DC for help, but there was no help. The famous song of that era by Billie Holiday called "Strange Fruit" was about seeing black man and women hanging from trees. Also, regarding the pictures of black people at that time. is why they used Aunt Jemina as a product she used to look like a slave, if you check the old pictures (my mother and grandmother remember that time) and Uncle Ben, was supposed to be an old white families retainer. If you were with a white family for a long time you were favored with the Aunt or Uncle name.

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