Courses/Lectures

Each of the 34 courses available can be enrolled in individually, or in packages.  Each course is an approximately 1-hour session that consists of the opportunity for the students to interact with the associated artifacts, and a discussion exercise tailored for your specific class in accordance with your teacher's curriculum/recommendations.  If the Course List below doesn’t fit your needs, we can work together to develop the presentation you desire – from control of the discussion topics to selection of items to be presented.

It's Only an Image, Right?

From advertisements to songs and minstrels, to products, political and scientific arguments, negative stereotypes and imageries were continuously put forth to falsely represent Black life and culture - and profit from it.  Descendants of these items like Uncle Ben's and Aunt Jemima's still survive today; while in this collection we have several examples including Gold Dust Powder, Sambo books, Darkie Toothpaste, etc.

 

Artifacts: Ink, soap, Sambo and Koko books, Minstrel Show Costume from 1930s with make-up kit, Gold Dust Twins box, skin lightening soap, Darkie Toothpaste, other  relevant items

Fairbanks Gold Dust Twins Washing Power, circa - The Gold Dust Washing Powder was introduced by the Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank Soap Company in 1889. By 1892, the Gold Dust Twins - "Goldie" and Dustie" began appearing on the products as mascots - one of the earliest examples of American brand-driven trademarking.  Quickly the twins became popular, as did the product. In the 1920s there was even a Gold Dust Twins Radio Show. Eventually, by the second half of the 20th century, sales of the product declined rapidly as other less offensive products became available.  Fortunately, Gold Dust Washing Powder is no longer being sold.

Carter's Inky Racer Sign, with Original Box and Product, circa 1920 - A product designed to removed ink spots, Carter's Inky Racer was produced by Carter Ink, which was based out of Boston, Massachusetts, evidence to the fact that discrimination and use of negative imagery was not limited to the South.  Like many products of its time, Carter utlizes the stereotypically negative imagery to convey the effectiveness of its product, while simultaneously mocking a people.  It is hard to imagine now, but products like this one lined shelves in stores all over the country - stores patronized by black and white customers.  Other than not buying the product, black shoppers regularly faced images like this simply going to the store. Ironically, the company that produced this product is still in business - Carter Ink is now a part of the Avery Dennison Corporation.