Comics-Uncle Remus TB
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Friday, 03 March 2017
Texas, United States
In the hands of PghPowers.
This is not collectible.
Use TB7FTNE to reference this item.
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Please drop this item in rural OR Premium Member Only caches. Do not place it in an urban cache or abandon it at a caching event. Transport the bug in the original plastic bag for as long as the bag lasts; the bag keeps the trackable clean, protects the number and prevents tangling with other items. Otherwise, take the travel bug anywhere you wish. No permission is needed to leave the U.S.
Photos of the travel bug are appreciated. I will be re-post them here, where they can be seen by other cachers.
About This Item
My youth was in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Drawing from that period, this is one of a series of travel bugs made to commemorate favorite characters from comic books, comic strips, movie cartoons, B-movies and animated feature-length movies. Some of the characters had only a brief existence, some survived as radio and early TV programs and some have been digitally-modernized into some of the blockbuster movies of today. There were many other characters, but these are the ones on which I was willing to spend my dimes (comic books) and quarters (movie and popcorn). However, I didn’t pay for the daily comic strips or Sunday funnies that came with the newspaper.
Uncle Remus is a collection of animal stories, songs, and oral folklore, collected from southern African-Americans. Many of the stories are didactic, much like those of Aesop's Fables and Jean de La Fontaine's stories. Uncle Remus is a kindly old former slave who serves as a storytelling device, passing on the folktales to children gathered around him. Some of the stories were made into movies and others became long-running comic strips in the Sunday funnies.
The stories are written in an eye dialect devised by Harris to represent a Deep South Gullah dialect. The genre of stories is the trickster tale. At the time of Harris' publication, his work was praised for its ability to capture plantation negro dialect.
Br'er Rabbit ("Brother Rabbit") is the main character of the stories, a likable character, prone to tricks and trouble-making, who is often opposed by Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. In one tale, Br'er Fox constructs a lump of tar and puts clothing on it. When Br'er Rabbit comes along he addresses the "tar baby" amiably but receives no response. Br'er Rabbit becomes offended by what he perceives as Tar Baby's lack of manners, punches it, and becomes stuck.
The animal stories were conveyed in such a manner that they were not seen as racist by many among the audiences of the time. By the mid-20th century, however, the dialect and the narrator's "old Uncle" stereotype were considered overly demeaning by many African-American people, reflecting what they considered to be racist and patronizing attitudes toward African-Americans. Providing additional controversy is the stories' context, as they are set on a former slave-owning plantation and portrayed in a passive, even docile, manner. Nevertheless, Harris' work was, according to himself, an accurate account of the stories he heard from the slaves when he worked on a plantation as a young man. He claimed to have listened to, and memorized, the African American animal stories told by Uncle George Terrell, Old Harbert, and Aunt Crissy at the plantation; he wrote them down some years later. He acknowledged his debt to these storytellers in his fictionalized autobiography, On the Plantation (1892). Many of the stories that he recorded have direct equivalents in the African oral tradition, and it is thanks to Harris that their African-American form is preserved.
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