I heard the saying the other day, "There's always more of the past." When you think about it, that's absolutely true! Every day we pile on yet another day in the ol' history heap. Most days will be pretty forgettable in the massive scheme of things (I guess that's what they means by "it won't mean a thing in a hundred years."). :D
I would venture to say that most Ephemeraologists are also history buffs - the two go hand in hand. But there is some history that's interesting in an ephemeral way but that the US would rather forget.
I'm talking about this kind of stuff. I found it last night when I was making some ATCs - there was an image I wanted to use and this was on the back side of it.
What is utterly astounding to me is that this piece of sheet music isn't very old at all - I'm going to guess either the Forties or Fifties (It's from a song called "Steamboats on the Mississippi"). Sadly, what we deem insensitive and completely un-PC now was commonplace only 50-60 years ago. Isn't that hard to believe?
I don't have many articles like this, but I do have a few labels and other various bits. It is a part of our history, and there have been wonderful articles written about African-American ephemera (in the article I linked to, it mentions the difference between African-American ephemera and Black ephemera. I think this definitely qualifies for Black ephemera!). I think it's important for people to remember how things were. I also think that ephemera is an excellent way for people to learn about how it was Back Then. But it is a sensitive subject and I won't make art with these items. If I were a part of the culture I would absolutely make pieces with this stuff. Heck, I would probably collect it too. But as it is, it just seems to me that the art would come off as making fun, or trying to be a part of something I'm not. I would be mortified if I were accused of either.
Here's my question to you: How do you feel about it? I would love to hear from a wide variety of folks out there. Does this offend you? Or should we pay more attention to it and use it to teach history?
Let me know in the comments below.
Side note: if this image does offend you, I apologize - that wasn't my intent. But I do believe it's important to get dialogue going about these types of things so that history doesn't repeat itself.