Jan Faulkner’s Ethnic Notions Collection

ajp.jpgJan Faulkner’s Ethnic Notions collection is phenomenal! I can hardly believe the collection is up for sale but I’m glad she is making it available to the public. I first viewed the collection in 2000 when it was exhibited at the Berkeley Art Center in Berkeley, California.

The Berkeley Art Center published a companion-teaching guide for grades 9-12. The guide included a series of innovative lesson plans incorporating national standards in History, Communications, and Language Arts.

Faulkner’s memorabilia might appear shocking to those unfamiliar with the genesis of her collection. But before anyone gets her knickers in a twist I recommend reading the attached press release for the complete story. Additional information on black memorabilia collectors is available here and here.

Bonus Link:

Marlon Riggs “Ethnic Notions”

Ethnic Notions” Collection Up for Sale: February 10 in Emeryville, CA

If you have been in the Bay Area for any length of time or if you have an interest in the history of racial stereotyping, you probably know about Jan Faulkner’s collection of memorabilia – some of which go back to pre-Civil War days. More than 20 years ago (1986), Marlon Riggs (now deceased) produced an award-winning documentary on the controversial items, Ethnic Notions. One scholar who had an opportunity to view the film described the experience:

“Loyal Toms, carefree Sambos, faithful Mammies, grinning Coons, savage Brutes, and wide-eyed Pickaninnies roll across the screen in cartoons, feature films, popular songs, minstrel shows, advertisements, folklore, household artifacts, even children’s rhymes. These dehumanizing caricatures permeated popular culture from the 1820s to the Civil Rights period and implanted themselves deep in the American psyche.”

Jan Faulkner has continued to research the genre, over the years and has gained an international reputation for her lectures on the way the caricatures in her collection affected and continue to affect the lives of many Black Americans and the perceptions of many White Americans. She has invested much of her life to finding and preserving these historically relevant artifacts of bigotry. and has agreed to make them available for public sale. Please help publicize the event by sharing this information with friends, family, and collectors with an interest in the racially-charged history of the United States. [Aileen Hernandez]


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