Tiny Sambos in the LBC

Posted: March 14, 2015 in Long Beach
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday I traveled to the Wrigley section of Long Beach. I walked down the hot dirty side-walks with nothing but Urban grunge and grime on all sides. I was with my female friend, who wanted to visit the various stores searching for summer garments.
We went into a tiny, one room building with silky, summer gowns hanging on the walls, but met with little success. We were directed to the bigger store, which sat on the corner by a petite, regal older Filipina. After strolling a few blocks, we went inside and were automatically transported back to another time.
I turned down the first aisle, stumbling upon something I’d only seen in old black and white cinema or displayed by various Asian nations as some sort of commercial, comedy art that would leave a bad taste in the mouths of most African Americans. A glass case filled with black faced figurines.
Lil’ Black Sambos.


My interest was peaked as questions invaded my gray matter. Why were these things created? Did people who actually collected blacken faced figures use them as some sort of racist ice breaker? Was there a highly competitive market out in that wild wild world?


The solid, Ebony painted women with the head scarf wrapped tightly around their carnium. It used to be a law in many parts of the south. Black woman were ordered to adore the head garments so they would not be mistaken for white woman. It’s the south; leave your logic at home


Watermelon: a delicious southern summer time staple eaten by all races during picnics, Dog fights and lynching, yet it’s the brown faces that always seemed to have a green rind in between their pouty lips. Fair? No? Those who wrote history books also depicted who devoured Watermelon. Seeds and all!

Interracial love was often highly promoted. It was loftily in the air as Anglo-American fathers gladly handed their pale skinned daughters off to the men with the forever tanned epidermis


More happy servants which are also healthy servants…Poor and abused but suspiciously happy.


So much- Happy. Happy Happy Happy…..

Wide Kool Aid smiles…Cherry


I always wondered why these were so-called collectors items. I didn’t see anything romantic about the old south and the ancient Jefferson Davis way of life. The comedy of it all still evades my logical sensibilities.
I expected to find these figurines in a country shop on a country road in rural, country Georgia, Florida, or Alabama, Instead I find them on the Westside of Long Beach.
How did they get there? Why? Who? How? Maybe Long Beach has a past? Maybe Long Beach has a future?
American Conditioning 101-fail.


  1. vivalaViv says:

    Same as you; I don’t see anything romantic about the old south neither…
    Thank you for sharing this article.

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