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The Art and History of Black Memorabilia

Buster, Larry V.; Markovich, Alex

13 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0609604252 / ISBN 13: 9780609604250
Published by Clarkson Potter, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From citynightsbooks (Allston, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing. A photographic compendium of African Americana. Beautifully designed and produced book on coated paper with many full-page color plates. Book unread, as new. DJ near new with sunning to spine. Includes index. 176 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 4671

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Art and History of Black Memorabilia

Publisher: Clarkson Potter, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Book

About this title


Black memorabilia is one of the most provocative areas of collecting in America today, encompassing anything made by or depicting people of African descent. It includes a diverse range of objects and documents that span five centuries of African-American life, from trade cards to kitchen novelties; dolls and toys to sports and civil-rights mementos; cereal boxes and product labels to books and sheet music; and even the shackles, classified ads, and bills of sale that document the long years of black slavery.

Often harsh and painful to examine, these artifacts nonetheless offer an important window into American history. They have become highly valued collectibles, and especially so among African Americans.

The Art and History of Black Memorabilia, by Larry Vincent Buster, is the first fully illustrated overview of this remarkable area of Americana. With more than two hundred color photographs, this volume examines the most desirable black collectibles and places them within their historical and social contexts. The author, himself a noted collector, includes information on how to buy, display, and preserve black memorabilia and explains how to spot fakes and reproductions. Also included are explorations of some of the most well-known and influential African-American figures in popular culture.

At times horrifying yet sublime, insulting yet intriguing, humorous, heartbreaking, and inspiring, The Art and History of Black Memorabilia is a landmark chronicle of the black experience in America.


The first definitive text on the subject, The Art and History of Black Memorabilia provides a sensitive rendering of a difficult topic and intelligently discusses a variety of interpretations for a large range of products and advertisements that relate to the experience of African Americans. Beginning with a brief timeline of specific events in African American history, author Larry Vincent Buster balances discussions of modern pop culture, politics, and the international slave trade from 1324 to 1995. Buster's preface makes it clear that his writing is both a labor of love and a scholarly document--he was willed a large collection of memorabilia from a friend, and his examination of this collection led him to write this book.

Each chapter details a particular type of relic, including accessories to the slave trade, printed entertainment posters and advertisements, dolls, bric-a-brac, and magazines, photos, and books related to more recent heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Joe Louis, Malcolm X, and Madam C.J. Walker. Throughout the book, special sections are devoted to characters of particular importance, ranging from Little Black Sambo to Josephine Baker. In all cases, the text addresses the variety of emotions these collections inspire, as well as the practical details related to collecting: pricing, rarity, popularity, and specifics on how to spot fakes. Buster's words on Aunt Jemima express the multiple meanings behind the memorabilia as a whole: "Aunt Jemima and her clones have come out of the closet as collectibles, coveted by connoisseurs.... Others are mystified by her power to degrade, anger and offend." Certainly, collectors and historians alike have much to learn from Buster's work, and The Art and History of Black Memorabilia is sure to serve as both a conversation starter and reference guide for years to come. --Jill Lightner

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