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Birth of An Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation

Nicholas Sammond, Author

This page was created by Patricia Hill.  The last update was by Alice Xue.

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Introduction, Page 29

This 1937 Warner Bros. parody of the race film Green Pastures (1936), directed by Friz Freleng, performs early sound animation's tendency towards virulent racist caricatures of African-Americans. Parodies of jazz greats such as Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and Louis Armstrong populate a segregated African-American heaven and hell in which god and the devil vie for the souls of the residents of Harlem. 

Clean Pastures locates Harlem on the African continent, and places African Americans in a representational realm wholly separate from that of whites, one that extends from the underworld, to earth, and on into a segregated heaven.
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