Early Blackville Prints

This exhibition features Early 20th Century Blackville Prints.  These  Post-bellum images of African Americans were published by Harper's Weekly. Blackville prints were used as comic satires, a dramatization of popular antiquated ideas of the time. These satires were seen as humorous, but when viewed today; they reflect some of the stereotypes with which America has struggled to overcome.   

Harper's Weekly was an American political magazine based in New York, reaching a large audience and was a strong political venue. Illustrations were an important part of the Harper's Weekly content, and it developed a reputation for using some of the most renowned illustrators of the time. These comic depictions are laced with serious messages promoting social change.

When examined as examples of historical illustrations and caricatures, Blackville prints give the viewer a glimpse of a by gone era in history.  The hardships of daily life, struggles for equality and moments of celebration and relaxation.