At any rate, to observe the Negro at his less commonplace diversions, one must leave the city for the turpentine camps, the phosphate mines, and possibly the small saw-mill towns where the Negro is thrown upon his own resources for amusement. (McDonogh 56)

This passage initiates a movement away from the public space of the cities towards the more private world of the backwoods, in order to find "the Negro" at his more authentic past-times. Several aspects of this implication are worth noting--- the recognition of different public and private identities for African-Americans, the association of private identity with authenticity, and the association of public and private spaces with identities. Read this way, the schizophrenia of tone in this larger passage from The Florida Negro reveals how a double consciousness infected even white identity and narratives, as well as black. The white observer fashioned here vacillates between a sneaking suspicion of the covert games of identity-masking and a cheerful ignorance and bigotry. From the white perspective, there is alternately the world in which a private black identity, more difficult to access and (perhaps thus?) more authentic, exists, or there is simply the world where jolly crowds of blacks stand around, performing a minstrel show of sorts for the first-time white observer.



Juliet Gorman, May 2001






You have a couple of choices at this point:

Have you read up yet on the history of jook joints?

If you have, or if you prefer not to at this point, you may want to delve into the actual photographs yourself...