Category:African American magicians
Articles in MagicPedia categorized as African American magicians.
Magicpedia is a site about history, the history of magic. Whether one's interest lies in the past or the present, little more than a basic knowledge of magic is needed to make the most of what is available to readers on this site. There is a small part of the site however that requires some special knowledge to understand both what is available here and what is not available. The parts in question are those entries that are related to the history of African American magicians. In order to fully understand both what is listed and what is missing, a basic knowledge of past racial policies in the United States and their affects must be understood.
The average American does not have a conception of the extreme reaches that past segregation policies had or the fact that the long term results still reverberate today. From the end of the Civil War until the Civil Rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s, segregation was the law of the land. The policies used to enforce the splitting of the races differed in various parts of the country but the end result was the same. While it is a common held believe that segregation was invented and implemented only in the Southern United States, the true fact of the matter was that it was just as firmly entrenched in the North only in a different guise. Someone once said that, to paraphrase, the difference between the North and South was that in the South blacks could live anywhere they wanted so long as they did not thrive whereas in the North a successful black individual was welcome so long as he did not live in a white neighborhood.
Both of these arrangements isolated the African American communities in several ways that affect what is to be found on this site. Foremost is that theaters that highlighted black entertainers were relegated to the black sections of cities across America, areas into which white America rarely ventured. At the same time, as a result of this isolation, everyday news in the way of sporting events, entertainment news and so forth, never made it into the major white newspapers of the day. While there were black newspapers, some with national circulations, the majority were weekly and as a result items that ran in it had to be judged on their importance and items deemed to be of lesser value were edited down mercilessly sometimes to nothing more that a single paragraph or sentence. The final complicating matter in the equation is that most of these papers relied on individuals that were in the entertainment industry to send in reports on where they were, show reports, and lists of future appearances. This information was then subject to the editor's scissors before publication and oft times was reduced to nothing more that “X the magician is doing well in the Carolinas where he will be for the next week.” Interviews were rare to nonexistent, reviews of magic shows in the larger cities did appear on occasion but rarely told little more than the types of effects and an opinion of the performance.
Imagine for a moment trying to put together a history of magic from only those resources, There were no magic magazines that covered African American magicians, no clubs that accepted them and thus no newsletters reports. Obituaries did sometimes appear in the black papers but many times were based on the magician's fake biography rather than their real one.
Put together all of the above difficulties, and a few not mentioned here, and the basis of an explanation to what can and can not be found on this site is born. Those that are interested can find entries on some African American magicians that gained fame during their careers. The majority of these entries unfortunately will only contain a sentence or two that tells the name of the individual and which branch of the conjuring arts they performed. Without a doubt more information is waiting to be found, and while the research into this field continues, it is a long and tedious process in that the information is hidden among millions of pages of newspaper stories, census records, draft registration cards and countless other forms records we as a country have produced in the past. For the present, this site will endeavor to list what is available. To quote the old axiom, which seems to fit particularly well with this site, “and now, on with the show”.
Pages in category "African American magicians"
The following 20 pages are in this category, out of 20 total.