‘I’se regusted’

How black characters in American popular fiction fed Jim Crow-era stereotypes
Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden’s Amos and Andy became so popular on radio and in scripts published in newspapers, they were obliged to make public appearances in blackface. Photo from Drew Collection

Wildcat Marsden, Jeff Poindexter, Widow Duck or Mush and Poke — they aren’t as recognizable as Jay Gatsby, Ma Joad, Todd Hackett or Sam Spade. But they were compatriots on the printed page, fictional characters who vied for readers’ attention in North America’s dynamic literature of the 1920s and ‘30s.

These characters are lost to history today because they fed, advertently or not, into Jim Crow-era racism.

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