Mar 01, 2012 - Sale 2271

Sale 2271 - Lot 149

Price Realized: $ 450
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 800
(BLACK MEMORABILIA.) HUMORISTIC PUBILSHING CO. Martha the Good Negress. Chromolithographic comic strip, 15x10-2/2 inches, consisting of 16 panels. Matted. Printed in France "Expressly for the Humoristic Publishing Co. Kansas City, MO" by Imagerie d'Epinal, circa 1900

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The story of Martha the Good Negress (is she an exception?) is an astonishing piece of racist propaganda, aimed at what had to be a truly naïve audience, even for 1900. It seems that there was a rich planter in Martinique who so respected his "slaves" that he paid them for their labor. But he fell on bad times, had to "dismiss" them all, except his wife's favorite, Martha. Leaving her native "America" (Martinique) makes Martha deathly ill, but her mistress stays by her bedside until she can travel--with her parrot "Jack." Later, in France, a man offers Martha 300 francs for Jack, but she refuses--that is, until her mistress is "ruined by a lawsuit." Then Martha sells Jack for 300 francs and saves her mistress's bacon, and the whole family is off to Martinique once again, where all of the Negroes cry "Long live the whites," and the whites cry "Long live the Good Blacks." Amazing!