UC Berkeley Library

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are open! Learn more.

Using the Library during COVID-19

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are now open. To stay up to date on the Library’s policies and services during the pandemic, visit the Library’s COVID-19 webpage.

African Immigrants

Blonde Venus (1932)

Directed by Josef von Sternberg. Cast: Marlene Dietrich,Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant, Hattie McDaniel. Features a musicalnumber, "Hot Voodoo", in which Dietrich appears onstage as acabaret singer, wearing a gorilla suit to the sound of drums,attended by a chorus of women in blackface decked out as "natives."In the number, Dietrich removes the gorilla suit to reveal herselfas a blonde Venus, white sexualized femininity itself... 94 min.; Online Access through LFLFC .

Cartoon Collection, V

Cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s showing thepervasiveness of racial and ethnic stereotypes. In additionto cartoons, the video includes sing-alongs, intermissiontrailers and an animated preview of Snow White. Contents:"Any Bonds Today?" (sung by Bugs Bunny)--"Let's Sing withPopeye": Excerpts from the first Popeye cartoon and Popeyesings 'I'm Popeye the sailor man.' -- "Plane Dumb" (Tom andJerry)-- "Porky's Hare Hunt" -- Trailer for "Snow White"--"Minnie's Yoo Hoo" (sung by Mickey Mouse): Sing-a-long tothe lyrics on the screen as Mickey Mouse directs the MickeyMouse Club theme song.

Cartoon Scandals: A Study of Violence, Racism and Sex in Cartoons

By today's standards, many of these 1930s-1940scartoons are now considered too risque or offensive by TVcensors and have been edited or banned from TV. Thiscollection features some of these rare classic cartoons intheir original, uncut, uncensored versions. Concludes withthe animated short by Lenny Bruce, "Thank you, mask man," agay parody on the Lone Ranger saga.

Check and Double Check (1930)

Directed by Melville W. Brown. Cast: Freeman Gosden, Charles J.Correll, Sue Carol, Irene Rich. Cab drivers Amos 'n' Andy(characters from the radio show Amos 'n' Andy) contract totransport Duke Ellington and his band out to Blair estate, wherethey meet Richard Williams who is in love with Jean Blair. Richardmust find the deed to his family property before he can marry Jean.Meanwhile, Amos 'n' Andy, after spending the night in a hauntedhouse, find the deed. Notable as the only motion picture producedstaring the radio comedy team, Amos n' Andy. 85 min.

Coonskin (1975)

Written and directed by Ralph Bakshi. This outrageous,original film about the status of blacks in America istold with live-action and animation vignettes, the bestof which are sly parodies of the stories from Disneyand Uncle Remus' Song of the South and Kim Basinger'sCool World. This allegorical tale follows the exploitsof a black rabbit who comes from the rural South to NewYork and ends up dealing drugs in Harlem. Released in1974, it was accused of being racist and withdrawn byits distributor within a week of its release. 90 min.

Goodbye Solo (2008)

Directed by Ramin Bahrani. Cast: Souleymane SySavane, Red West, Diana Franco Galindo, Lane 'Roc' Williams,Mamadou Lam, Carmen Leyva. On the lonely roads of Winston-Salem,North Carolina, two men forge an improbable friendship that willchange both of their lives forever. Solo is a Senegalese cab driverworking to provide a better life for his young family. William is atough Southern good ol' boy with a lifetime of regrets. Solo'sAmerican dream is just beginning, while William's is quicklywinding down.

Holiday Inn (1944)

Directed by Mark Sandrich. Cast: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire,Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale, Walter Abel. A song-and-dance manleaves show business and opens up a Connecticut inn with his formerpartner and is saved from financial disaster by the showmanship ofold friends. For entertainment at the Inn, Bing proposes aLincoln's Birthday tribute in blackface (featuring Bing Crosby andMarjorie Reynolds). 100 min.Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
See also:

Little Senegal (Algeria / France / Germany, 2001)

Directed by Rachid Bouchareb. Cast: Sotigui Kouyate,Sharon Hope, Roschdy Zem, Adetoro Makinde, Karim KousseinTraore, Adja Diarra, Malaaika Lacario. An elderly man fromSenegal travels to New York City, in hopes of locating AfricanAmericans related to his ancestors (many of whom were kidnapped andsold as slaves). 93 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Littlest Rebel (1937)

Directed by David Butler. Cast: Shirley Temple, John Boles,Bill Robinson, Steppin Fetchit. Civil War saga set in the OldSouth. A case study in 30's and 40's Hollywoods fondness formammies, Toms, and happy, childlike colored folk. Features anastonishing sequence in which Shirley dons blackface to escape fromUnion soldiers. ;Credits andother information from the Internet Movie Database
Reviews and articles:

Mad Men. Season 3, Episode 3 (TV)

Advertising executive Roger Sterling serenades his new wife inblackface their first gathering as a newly-wedded couple.