Friday, July 15, 2011

National Affairs: Black Mammy

On Saturday, March 3, 1923, Time Magazine reported in its National Affairs section with an article entitled, "Black Mammy":


In dignified and quiet language, two thousand Negro women of the Phyllis Wheatley Y. W. C. A. protested against a proposal to erect at the Capitol a statue to "The Black Mammy of the South." A spokesman carried the resolution to Vice President Coolidge and Speaker Gillette and begged them to use their influence against "the reminder that we come from a race of slaves."

This, of course, will rebuke forever the sentimentalists who thought they were doing honor to a character whom they loved. They desired to immortalize a person famous in song and legend. But that person's educated granddaughters snuffed out the impulse by showing that they are ashamed of her.
(Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,881326,00.html#ixzz1SDxozBnM)

[I don't think that the women were "ashamed" of the person that worked as a domestic in the homes of white people, but rather the archetype matron that fueled the ubiquitous stereotype of the mammy icon. There is a difference. The women of the YMCA didn't demean the work of a domestic maid or nanny, but they happy darky narrative needs a rest.]

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