Posts tagged ‘minstrelsy’

Black Crows Unmasked

Some time ago I published a post on the disputed nomenclature of the candy we know as “Black Crows” (read it here).  Candy lore has it that the real name was supposed to be “Black Rose,” but some miscommunication resulted in birds instead of flowers. My post was a “proof” that Black Crows must have been the original name.

But why “Black Crows”? Now I think I know.

Today in a 1917 history of the confectionery trade in the city of Philadelphia, I discover this mention in passing:

In the early 40’s, Sebastian Henrion made the first Cream Chocolates and Jim Crows, the latter, which were quite black, being named after a troupe of colored minstrels then playing.

Get it? Jim Crows, Black Crows. The candy is, after all, quite black. So when you see that dandy crow in a top hat, think “racist minstral stereotype.” Mmmm, the taste of America.

Source: Ellwood B. Chapman, The Candy Making Industry in Philadelphia, Educational Pamphlet No. 6, Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, 1917, page 4. See it here.

February 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm 4 comments


Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

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Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

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