The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights


"The cakewalk was originally a plantation dance, just a happy movement [the slaves] did to the banjo music because they couldn’t stand still. It was generally on Sundays, when there was little work, that the slaves both young and old would dress up in hand-me-down finery to do a high-kicking, prancing walk-around.

They did a take-off on the manners of the white folks in the “big house”, but their masters, who gathered around to watch the fun, missed the point. It’s supposed to be that the custom of a prize started with the master giving a cake to the couple that did the proudest movement.” 

The Cakewalk was meant “to satirize the competing culture of supposedly ‘superior’ whites. Slaveholders were able to dismiss its threat in their own minds by considering it as a simple performance which existed for their own pleasure”

There is perhaps a pleasant irony in the fact that the slave owners would imitate the slaves’ Cakewalk not realising that it was already an imitation of their own absurd dances and were, thereby, mocking themselves!

EDIT: According to duh doy dorothy, who knows far more on the subject than I do, “slave owners knew cakewalks were simulating formal white dances, they just didn’t allow themselves to believe slaves had the ability to satirize consciously. White people didn’t cake walk until post-emancipation.”

[Sources: Wikipedia | Image One | Image Two | Image Four | Video]

  1. chazchica reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  2. ickleemmzie reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  3. oddsendsandtrappings reblogged this from mademoiselle-iona
  4. memory63 reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  5. obitual reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  6. parlaying666 reblogged this from criminalwisdom
  7. moonshaina reblogged this from criminalwisdom
  8. leligre reblogged this from criminalwisdom
  9. kaleidoscope-eyes-42 reblogged this from barefoot-rambler
  10. barefoot-rambler reblogged this from another-lost-angel
  11. another-lost-angel reblogged this from everlasting-moonlight
  12. everlasting-moonlight reblogged this from meanderingbodhitree
  13. ladyofthedoor reblogged this from criminalwisdom
  14. timishere reblogged this from branwashed
  15. branwashed reblogged this from youcancallmemarge
  16. shatsshats reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  17. arswagggz reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  18. yuurat reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  19. servethenuts reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  20. incaseofvertigo reblogged this from criminalwisdom
  21. treceam reblogged this from cosmonauta-abstracto-sideral
  22. ultrakamanchiuniverse reblogged this from criminalwisdom
  23. cosmonauta-abstracto-sideral reblogged this from theoddmentemporium
  24. danielsnyder reblogged this from theoddmentemporium