Humor Item
Harper's Weekly, December 31, 1864, page 839
"Why, Sambo, how black you are!" said a gentleman the other day to a negro waiter at a hotel; "how in the world did you get so black?" "Why, look a here, massa, the reason am -- de day dis chile was born there was an eclipse."


Once again, a generic and derogatory name is used to undermine the individuality and dignity of blacks. The black man’s occupation—a waiter—hints at the pervasive discrimination which kept free blacks in low-paying, menial, service-oriented jobs, no matter what abilities they had. Such men and women were not enslaved, but their economic opportunities and liberties were severely limited.


This site is brought to you by…
Website and all Content © 1999-2004 HarpWeek, LLC
Please report problems to