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Press Releases

Monday, February 2, 2004

Exhibit Eyes Perceptions in African-American-Themed Items

SALISBURY, MD---From Aunt Jemima to Uncle Mose, Black memorabilia of the 19th and 20th centuries offered negative perceptions of African-Americans to the non-Black community that many civil rights pioneers fought to overcome in the 1960s and the African-American community continues to struggle against today. Salisbury University explores those perceptions and the icons behind them with its exhibit “Manufacturing Culture: Representation and the Black Collectable,” scheduled to coincide with African-American History Month in February. The exhibit runs from Tuesday-Friday, February 17-April 9 at the University Gallery in Fulton Hall. An opening reception is 6-8 p.m. Friday, February 20. The collection of Robert Smith, an associate professor with SU’s Communication and Theatre Arts Department, will be displayed along with pieces from Joseph and Annelle O’Neal of Laurel, DE, calling attention to everything from Mammy-themed housewares to trade cards, toys and vacation souvenirs featuring stereotypical images such as the Sambo and the Picaninny. Smith hopes the exhibit, while controversial, will provide an opportunity for dialogue and exploration about material culture, as well as historical and aesthetic representations. Dr. Clara Small of SU’s History Department, who has written about the Civil War from the perspective of African-American women and researched the lives of African-Americans on the Eastern Shore, adds historical context to the pieces. The Office of Cultural Affairs and Museum Program sponsors the exhibit. Admission is free and the public is cordially invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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