Costume ‘Controversy’ Sparks Debate, Ire | News, Sports, Jobs
FREWSBURG — The American Legion post that hosted a private party over the weekend said it does not condone the use of blackface as part of a Halloween costume.
Photographs of the Carroll Rod and Gun Club event which included two people who were allegedly dressed as black lawn jockeys have been widely shared on social media.
“The American Legion does not endorse or promote the use of blackface, although we have promoted the Halloween party,” said Stephen Nelson of the Samuel L Derby Post 556.
Nelson is a former commander of the Frewsburg Legion.
“I don’t know if anyone thought it was funny, or what exactly, but they made the wrong call.” he said.
The Carroll Rod and Gun Club has released several photos from the annual Halloween party. At least three of these photos showed two people dressed in white clothes with red vests and hats and carrying lanterns. Both individuals are also seen wearing black gloves and black face coverings with enlarged lips and eyes.
Paula Rondeau shared the photos on Facebook. His post was subsequently shared over 360 times.
The Carroll Rod and Gun Club, which deleted some of its photos from the party, issued a statement on Monday.
“We would like to point out the controversy some people took on at a recent Halloween costume party,” says the club. “We are a private club with over 1,100 members from ALL ethnic groups, who were in attendance that night.”
The club said several photos from the Halloween party were “taken out of context” by Rondeau.
“Our club does not tolerate bullying or prejudiced behavior,” the statement continued. “We respect everyone equally.”
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University addressed lawn jockeys — statues that portray a caricature, sometimes in black, wearing horse racing gear and holding a lamp or hitch ring. They are often seen as a symbol of racism.
In 2020, Franklin Hughes of the Jim Crow Museum discussed a social media post that attempted to justify the use of the statue by saying it was used on the Underground Railroad.
In a question-and-answer session on the Ferris State University website, Hughes said it was possible people used lawn jockeys to guide slaves to freedom.
“However, there is no evidence that this practice was common,” he said.
The Jamestown Justice Coalition shared the photos on its Facebook page. He also released the following statement on Tuesday:
“Year after year, there are reports of people wearing cartoonish blackface costumes, native Mexican headdresses, and a plethora of other obviously offensive Halloween costumes. funny disregards the fact that this is all done at the expense of those depicted Black people and all other people of color are out in disguise and every time these actions are excused sets the stage for racist treatment, harassment and to violence is paved.”