Thursday, April 16, 2009

Boston Tea Party and 2009 Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party. There is one that happened yesterday, April 15, 2009, and there is one that happened way back when... When colonists threw tea into Boston Harbor in 1773...

That event in 1773 is widely depicted with colonists dressed as Indians who are shown wearing feathers, fringe and face paint. Here's the most famous image, an 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier.

And here's one from a children's picture book, The Boston Tea Party, published in 2001, written by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrations by Henry Cole:

In fact, the colonists did not wear feathers
They colored their faces with ash and charcoal 
and draped blankets on their shoulders.* 

Given the multiple misrepresentations of that moment, I wondered if it would be echoed in yesterday's "tea party" events. Watching Jon Stewart's coverage of it, I had my answer (see lower right image):


UPDATE, 6:45 PM, April 16, 2009
Jeremy Cote, Phoenix, AZ, posted (to Flickr) "On warpath against more taxes!" In it are two women and two children, wearing tan-colored shirts, feathers in their hair. The children have signs taped to their shirts that say:
"Paleface taxes no good."
"Let little brave keep wampum."

UPDATE, 6:56 PM, April 19, 2009
A few minutes ago, a reader submitted a comment, pointing to a photograph in the NY Times. It accompanies a story titled "Tax Day is Met with Tea Parties." There is no reference in the article to the photograph, which shows a boy in a headdress.

UPDATE, 8:10 AM, December 16, 2014
For writing about how the colonists were dressed, see:

UPDATE, 9:20 AM, December 16, 2014

Here's the cover of The Boston Tea Party, December 1773, "text" by Josephine Pollard, "drawn" by H. W. McVickar (used quotations marks around text/drawn because those are the words on the title page). Published in 1882 by Dodd, Mead & Company, it has been digitized. Don't buy it from Amazon. You can read the entire book, free, online 

Here's a page from inside:

The text on the left page is: "Like sons of the forest, a poor imitation." The phrase "son of the forest" stood out to me because it is the title William Apes's book, published in 1829

And here's McVickar's drawing of "a Chinaman":

Some of McVickar's cartoons appeared in Harpers Magazine. Josephine Pollard wrote many books for children. 

An (Incomplete) List of Illustrators that Got it Wrong with Feathers and Colored Face Paint:

1882: H. W. McVickar got it wrong in The Boston Tea Party, December 1773 (by Josephine Pollard)

2001: Henry Cole got it wrong in Boston Tea Party (by Pamela Duncan Edwards)

2013: Lauren Mortimer got it wrong in What Was the Boston Tea Party? (by Kathleen Krull)

2013: Peter Malone got it wrong in The Boston Tea Party (by Russell Freedman)


jpm said...

I always wonder how it is that some of those folks think that they get police and fire protection, roads, etc. Unless they want to start replacing stretches of Interstate and putting out electrical fires on their own, they need to recognize that tax money is what contributes to order, infrastructure maintenance, and no small number of other things they probably take for granted and/or feel entitled to. "Taxation without representation", is it? Do they feel "not represented" because their friends got voted out of office for helping to dig the country into the several pits from which the current administration must try to extract us? With that level of ignorance and denial operating among them, I suppose it should be no surprise that some of them showed their "true colors" via racial imagery -- but still I'm surprised.

rnc said...

Debbie Reese said...

rnc posted a link to a photo from the NY Times. I'll put the link and the photo (if possible) in the original post.