Ukulele Ike Cliff Edward's controversial uke

GrandpaLee

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Ukulele Ike question. I have an old Cliff Edwards Ukulele Ike uke from the 20's or 30's and I'm not sure what to do with it. The concern is: it features Cliff in blackface on the headstock and on the label in the sound hole. It is not in great shape and would be more of a a wall-hanger than a player, although it can be made playable. I keep it in it's old canvas bag/case in the closet because my kids give me grief about it. I don't know if it is even possible to advertise this because it might be considered racist. Anyway...has anyone ever seen a Ukulele Ike ukulele with Cliff in blackface? Any advice about what to do with this? My daughter suggested I burn it, but I realize there may be a collector or museum that might want it. Thanks.
 
Please post a picture with some explanation of condition. The are many here that do restorations. I'm sure someone will be interested.
 
The
Ukulele Ike question. I have an old Cliff Edwards Ukulele Ike uke from the 20's or 30's and I'm not sure what to do with it. The concern is: it features Cliff in blackface on the headstock and on the label in the sound hole. It is not in great shape and would be more of a a wall-hanger than a player, although it can be made playable. I keep it in it's old canvas bag/case in the closet because my kids give me grief about it. I don't know if it is even possible to advertise this because it might be considered racist. Anyway...has anyone ever seen a Ukulele Ike ukulele with Cliff in blackface? Any advice about what to do with this? My daughter suggested I burn it, but I realize there may be a collector or museum that might want it. Thanks.
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, which "uses objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote a more just society," might be interested: https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/index.htm.
 
I wouldn't destroy it just because of the current climate of iconoclasm. Save it for a time when people become more tolerant of past transgressions and are able to accept it as something to learn from, even if it seems racist by today's standards.I would also like to see photos.
 
Ukulele Ike question. I have an old Cliff Edwards Ukulele Ike uke from the 20's or 30's and I'm not sure what to do with it. The concern is: it features Cliff in blackface on the headstock and on the label in the sound hole. It is not in great shape and would be more of a a wall-hanger than a player, although it can be made playable. I keep it in it's old canvas bag/case in the closet because my kids give me grief about it. I don't know if it is even possible to advertise this because it might be considered racist. Anyway...has anyone ever seen a Ukulele Ike ukulele with Cliff in blackface? Any advice about what to do with this? My daughter suggested I burn it, but I realize there may be a collector or museum that might want it. Thanks.
It surprises me how all-or-nothing folks are when it comes to history; what's the old saying? "those that cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". Minstrelsy is part of performance history. Personally I'd archivally store the uke.
 
I would not destroy or discard it. Perhaps as mentioned, the Jim Crow museum would be an appropriate place for it. I think it is a valuable teaching tool and artifact.
 
When I was in about grade 4, one of my heroes was Bernie Custis, the quarterback of the Hamilton Tiger Cats. One Hallowe'en I wanted to be him, but we waited too long to get a Tiger Cat shirt with 95 on the back, so I went as something else. I'm sure that I would have browned my face and drawn on a fake moustache. I wouldn't have been the only Bernie Custis that Hallowe'en. Every kid in my class would have traded a dozen bubblegum cards to get this one. I don't believe Bernie would have been offended.
Bernie_Custis.jpg

When Bernie retired, he became a school teacher (both elementary and secondary) in the Hamilton area and was a principal as well. He also coached the McMaster University football team. There is a Bernie Custis secondary School in Hamilton.
Bernie Custis Secondary School.jpg
 
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I assume yours looks something like this one?

 
Okay, that’s just too cool! I think,as a piece of history, that is irreplaceable. Having grown up in the 60’s as a “hippie”, I have never been a racist. I would accept it as a historical artifact. Is it a inappropriate today? Oh hell yeah. But we can’t erase our past by tearing down statues and deleting periods of history…
 
I assume yours looks something like this one?

Yes. Sorry, I took so long to reply. I just took some pictures of mine (see attached.)
 

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