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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Selling Out the Red Man: American Advertisers Portray the Natives, Part 2

WARNING: The following cartoons contain racist imagery and slurs.

Resuming our Native American Heritage Month postings, we start above with a sequence of circa 1870s/1880s trade cards, advertising R.W. Bell’s Buffalo Soap. This sequence follows a 19th century racist theme common in soap advertising, most often seen involving African Americans, but here, using an American native. That the soap is so good, that when used on people of color, it makes them white. The racist implication being that non-whites, are really nothing more than dirty individuals, who would be white if they simply washed.

Click on the above & below pictures, to view the cartoons in detail, and read their captions.

Below, a two-panel sequence by artist R.A. Williams, advertising what was basically quack medicine for both humans & farm animals, from the 1892 Barker’s Illustrated Almanac.

Above, with verse by Byron Williams, and art by Dearborn Melvill, we have Willie and the Indians, advertising Kelloggs Toasted Corn Flakes. Published in 1912, this page is from the giveaway promotional comic The Adventures of Willie Winters.

Beneath, a page from the 1915 booklet, Mister Tourist in Portland, promoting business & tourism in Portland, via cartoons. In Mister Tourist admires “The Coming of the White Man” at the City Park. Click here to see the actual statue, and explanation of it — it apparently is still in the park, with title of the work not changed, though finding its location is now difficult.

Doug Wheeler

AdvertisingStrips NativeAmericanHistory


Doug

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