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Remember History Through Black Memorabilia

By Lela Perkins

Afro American memorabilia that were made during the early 1900s to late 1960s are called black memorabilia. These can be an image, poster, figurines, housewares, and postcards of early African Americans and they could be doing some kind of menial labor that slaves of this era are subjected to. Their appearances could be exaggerated like having a wide sets of eyes or full thick lips or non conventional body proportion with handkerchiefs or head scarves on their heads.

Mammy dolls, promotional mediums, kitchen utensils, caricatures and slave documents are some of the common collectibles. Some like to collect items that have a historical value such as political posters that show black activists during the 1960s. Artworks of black artists and memorabilia from actors, singers, and bands are highly valued.

They are being collected for many reasons by people with different nationality and ethnicity. Kitchen wares like pepper and salt shakers, and bisque dolls are manufactured and sold as souvenirs in that period are common collectibles. However, most rare and highly valued collectibles often have topics and scenes of slavery which makes them controversial and not all people approve of having these items sold at public auctions.

Not all pieces have a negative connotation and most of them are not bought for discrimination or racism. Although many will try to acquire this kind of memorabilia as remembrance of their heritage even if people deem them offensive because of slave related topics. On the other hand, there are other collectibles that are uplifting and inspiring.

These collections are a way to appreciate the struggles of their ancestors and a reminder to never make the same mistakes again. Some collectors do not treat these as a hobby or for fun rather as a way to make amends with the past. It helps them aim for a prosperous future that is free any form of ethnic discrimination and racial barriers.

Although it has become quite popular in this decade, collecting these items can be a very costly endeavor. Prices of authentic and vintage pieces from fifteen years ago have become higher than anticipated. When prices are high, there are a lot of reproductions that will follow particularly cast irons which has a lot of reproductions and fakes.

Ensure that the product you are investing with a lot of money is authentic since reproduction and fakes are prevalent nowadays. Check for an object has a reproduction especially if they are promoted as an antique or vintage. If you are not sure of its value, check for the price guides or check the prices of similar objects.

Inspect the feedback of past customers when you are buying online, and check other items are sold. Buying from a distinguished auction organizers and dealers are safer since they can give proper documents to a product. Just because it has an authenticity marking does not mean it is so be cautious and read the description always.

A balanced collection shows the bad and good, the painful and positive side of that time in history and includes a wide variety of black memorabilia. Still, people have their own choice when it comes to collecting. The times have taught us to be a bit more understanding and tolerant so that we can live in harmony with one another.

Read more about Collecting Black Memorabilia As Heritage visiting our website.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Perkins, Lela "Remember History Through Black Memorabilia." Remember History Through Black Memorabilia. 14 Apr. 2014. 2 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Perkins, L (2014, April 14). Remember History Through Black Memorabilia. Retrieved August 2, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Perkins, Lela "Remember History Through Black Memorabilia"

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