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The term pickaninny, reserved for children, has a similarly broadened pattern of use; while it originated in a Portuguese word for 'small child' in general, it was applied especially to African-American children in the United States, then later to Australian Aboriginal children.
One of the earliest versions of the "black as buffoon" can be seen in John Lewis Krimmel's "Quilting Frolic." The violinist in the 1813 painting, with his tattered and patched clothing, along with a bottle protruding from his coat pocket appears to be an early model for Rice's Jim Crow character.The character found great favor among the Whites of Great Britain and Australia as well, into the late 20th century.Notably, as with Sambo, the term as an insult crosses ethnic lines; the derived Commonwealth English epithet Wog is applied more often to people from the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Subcontinent than to Africans, though "Golly dolls" still in production mostly retain the look of the stereotypical blackface minstrel.Unaccustomed to the requirements of a tropical climate, Europeans mistook semi-nudity for lewdness.The practice of polygamy among Africans was attributed to uncontrolled lust, and tribal dances were construed as orgies.Stereotypes and generalizations about African Americans and their culture have evolved within American society dating back to the colonial years of settlement, particularly after slavery became a racial institution that was heritable. From the colonial era through the American Revolution ideas about African-Americans were variously used in propaganda either for or against the issue of slavery.
A comprehensive examination of the restrictions imposed upon African-Americans in the United States of America through culture is examined by art historian Guy C. Paintings like John Singleton Copley's Watson and the Shark (1778) and Samuel Jennings' Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences (1792) are early examples of the debate underway at that time as to the role of Black people in America.
Mc Elroy in the catalog to the exhibit "Facing History: The Black Image in American Art 1710-1940." According to Mc Elroy, the artistic convention of representing African-Americans as less than fully realized humans began with Justus Engelhardt Kühn's colonial era painting Henry Darnall III as a child. Watson represents an historical event, while Liberty is indicative of abolitionist sentiments expressed in Philadelphia's post revolutionary intellectual community.
Although Kühn's work existed "simultaneously with a radically different tradition in colonial America" as indicated by the work of portraitists such as Charles (or Carolus) Zechel, (see Portrait of a Negro Girl and Portrait of a Negro boy) the market demand for such work reflected the attitudes and economic status of their audience. Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences, or The Genius of America Encouraging the Emancipation of the Blacks, 1792. Nevertheless, Jennings' painting represents African-Americans as passive, submissive beneficiaries of not only slavery's abolition, but knowledge, which liberty has graciously bestowed upon them.
However, there is no documented account of mandingo fighting between slaves, only rumored tales.
Economic interests prevented slave owners from involving their investments in activities that would ultimately leave one virtually ineffective.
What is known about the Mammy archetype comes from the memoirs and diaries that emerged after the Civil War with recordings and descriptions of African-American household women slaves who were considered by family members as their black mothers.