Jim Linderman blog about surface, wear, form and authenticity in self-taught art, outsider art, antique american folk art, antiques and photography. Dull tool and dim bulb were the only swear words my father ever used. Items from the Jim Linderman collection of vernacular photography, folk art, ephemera and curiosities. (Note: if anyone believes an image contained violates their rights or insults their intelligence, simply point it out and I will remove)
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African-American Yard Show Folk Art in the Black Eden Idlewild, Michigan Black History 1915 RPPC Collection Jim Linderman
Dated 1915 (which makes it likely one of the earliest photos of an African-American Yard Show) this scarce RPPC comes from Idlewild, Michigan. The city was founded in 1912 specifically as a resort town for black tourists who weren’t welcome most places at the time. A refuge from Jim Crow laws still rampant. Here, Black citizens could legally buy property, relax, use the facilities, fish the lake and take up residence. Numerous black notables visited and vacationed in Idlewild…even Louis Armstrong purchased a home there. The famed Flamingo Club operated and attracted countless famous Black entertainers. Members of the Black intelligentsia from Chicago and further established a foothold and the city flourished. By the 1920s Over 6000 people had purchased 17,000 lots in the area. Many articles and several books tell the history of the birth, decline and ongoing restoration of this Black Eden.
The owner of this establishment is unidentified. The awning identifies the place as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the rock creature has “Swannee River” written on it. Both problematic now, but during the earliest days of the 19th century black condemnation of Uncle Tom was not as strong as today. As for “Swannee” River, it could refer to the actual waterway (which ran from Georgia to Florida) rather than to the Stephen Foster song “Old Folks at Home” by written in 1851 and STILL the official state song of Florida. The song has a controversial history well-documented (having been composed as a minstrel tune) but it is surprising to see here in this context.
Several of my posts have received informative comments from Michiganders. I hope some can add more information on this unusual find.
The Folk Artist from Black Eden. African-American Yard Show art Idlewild, Michigan 1915 Collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb
I have posted numerous other yard show photos on the Dull Tool Dim Bulb blog over the years, but this one is the oldest.
#yardshow. #yardart. #blackfolkart. #african-american. #rppc. #idlewild #michigan. #realphotopostcard. #outsiderart.
See the Wikipedia article on Idlewild HERE