A bit of Black History…

THE BLACK LAWN JOCKEY (footman)

Today’s history lesson…

“These days people don’t know the real meaning behind these little lawn statues, so they vandalize them, and think of them as racist, etc. The history of the black ‘footman’ with a lantern is the exact opposite. Its meaning signified that the home was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

These were largely a northern thing and weren’t commonly found in the South until after WWII when northerners moved there and brought this custom with them. The clothing of the statue was a code:

– a striped jockey’s shirt meant that this was a place to swap horses;
– a footman in a tailed coat meant overnight lodging, food;
– a blue sailor’s waistcoat meant the homeowner could take you to a port and get you on a ship to Canada.

Later, these came back into popularity after WWII, and once again they were coded, mostly to show that the white homeowners supported early civil rights efforts, and were NOT Klan members, etc. These statues are something we should be proud of because they led a lot of people to their freedom and they also represent the bravery and support of the homeowners that risked their homes, themselves, and their families for the struggle of freedom and equality.”

History is marvellous.

A former history teacher

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