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Travel Fact check: Racist carnival game featured in 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure

02:25  26 june  2020
02:25  26 june  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. Says a 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows children playing a violent, racist carnival game .

PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. Gwen Moore described Milwaukee as one of the worst places in the country for child sex trafficking, there were reasons to think it might be so. Featured Fact - check .

The claim: A 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows white children playing a violent, racist carnival game

an old photo of a boy: This image of a racist game appears in a 1942 YMCA brochure for a camp in Wisconsin. © Courtesy photo This image of a racist game appears in a 1942 YMCA brochure for a camp in Wisconsin.

The black-and-white photo from long ago leaves a jarring impression in 2020.

“HIT THE (n-word) BABY,” a carnival banner proclaims. Caricatured black faces frame the text on either side.

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Featured Fact - check . Sara Meaney. stated on May 24, 2020 in a TV interview. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Shifting stances: Scott Walker takes new position on health care, Tony Evers takes new Says a 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows children playing a violent, racist carnival game .

This image is authentic and shows a 1942 YMCA brochure for Camp Minikani, a children’s summer camp in Wisconsin. According to the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, “It sounds like a common carnival target game , but there was one unsettling part of the game , namely, the game ’s

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Below the banner, a group of young, white boys are seen hurling objects at a blackened, shadowy target.

This picture has been widely viewed on Facebook, including a post from June 12 that has been shared more than 10,000 times. The text identifies the image as a scene from the Milwaukee area.

“This image is authentic and shows a 1942 YMCA brochure for Camp Minikani, a children’s summer camp in Wisconsin,” the post says.

It goes on to describe a carnival game in which participants hurl objects at a human target. The more than 2,000 comments include many expressing shock and disgust, and some wondering if the image is legitimate or even photoshopped.

Is the picture real? And is the description accurate to attribute it to a Wisconsin youth camp brochure?

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PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. Featured Fact - check . Says a 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows children playing a violent, racist carnival game .

PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. Says a 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows children playing a violent, racist carnival game .

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Picture from YMCA brochure

The picture is real – and it comes from the cited YMCA brochure.

The text of the Facebook post is actually a direct quote (without attribution) from a 2018 fact-check by Snopes.com, which rated "True" a claim that a game by that name was once a popular fairground attraction.

The game went by the name on the banner, as well as “African Dodger,” “The Black Dodger” and an array of other labels. Participants got three throws with a ball or egg to try to hit a target.

Sometimes that target was a picture or model of a Black man, but often it was a real person, hired to play the role of the “dodger.”

The game was highlighted in the 1942 brochure for Camp Minikani, a camp in Washington County owned then and now by the YMCA of Greater Milwaukee. The camp was established in 1919 and remains in use.

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PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. Says a 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows children playing a violent, racist carnival game .

PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. PolitiFact Georgia was at the meeting and wondered whether Congress is in fact a millionaires club. Woodall voted Jan. 23 in favor of the No Budget, No Pay Act that passed in the

The four-page brochure is on display at the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia in Michigan, and was included in the 2019 book “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the rise of Jim Crow.” The game is featured on the brochure’s last page alongside pictures of white boys playing games, eating and working with wood. The page promotes “Special Events” such as an all-camp carnival.

Carrie Wall, president and CEO of the Milwaukee YMCA, called it “a part of our history that we are not proud of.”

“The image of this cruel ‘game’ horrifies and disgusts us,” Wall said in a statement. “As an organization, we are committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity for all. We can’t hide from our past, but only pledge to be better every day since.”

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Violent, racist carnival game was commonplace

The question from today’s perspective is how a game in this vein could be so normalized.

An article on the game on the Jim Crow Museum website said it was “as commonplace in local fairs, carnivals and circuses as Ferris wheels and roller coasters are today.” Newspaper clippings showed it in use at events hosted by churches and schools.

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PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact. Says a 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows children playing a violent, racist carnival game .

Featured Fact - check . When a speaker we’re checking acknowledges their error before publication, we note their comments but do not change our ruling, since many more people would have seen the Says a 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure shows children playing a violent, racist carnival game .

The article said the game grew out of a culture that devalued Black lives.

“The idea that African Americans were sub-humans was prevalent and widely accepted,” said the article, by museum multimedia specialist Franklin Hughes.

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Pop culture was rife with mentions of the game. A video compilation from the Jim Crow Museum shows clips featuring Popeye the Sailor (1933) and Donald Duck (no date) playing versions of the game, and it was the central theme of a 1931 movie called “The African Dodger.”

Department stores even sold an at-home table version of the game.

Newspapers from the early 1900s often mentioned the game. Some advertised for “dodgers,” and one account detailed a man hospitalized after participants brought their own weighted balls to use.

Other newspaper reports from the era reference men killed playing the game.

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Our ruling: True

We rate this claim TRUE, as it is supported by our research. Museum archives and other research confirms the picture is authentic and comes from a brochure for Camp Minikani. The barbaric game was widely played from the 1800s into the mid-1900s, prevalent at all manner of fairs and carnivals, as well as in the media of the time.

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Our fact-check sources:

  • Facebook post, June 12, 2020
  • YMCA of Greater Milwaukee, 1942 Camp Minikani brochure (provided by the Jim Crow Museum),
  • Snopes, Was a Violently Racist Carnival Game Once Popular in America?, Feb. 26, 2018
  • Email exchange with Franklin R. Hughes, multimedia specialist, Jim Crow Museum, June 17, 2020
  • YMCA of Greater Milwaukee, Camp Minikani, accessed June 18, 2020
  • Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the rise of Jim Crow," 2019.
  • Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, The African Dodger, October 2012
  • Jim Crow Museum YouTube channel, Blacks as Targets, June 11, 2014
  • Wayne County Democrat, The black dodger, Sept. 19, 1913
  • Philadelphia Record, article, Sept. 22, 1908
  • Providence News, Wants African Dodger to Face Balls at Club Fair, Sept. 11, 1924
  • Email exchange with Jared Stewart, spokesman for YMCA of Greater Milwaukee, June 16-18, 2020
  • Interview with Reggie Jackson, head griot, America’s Black Holocaust Museum, June 18, 2020

Contact Eric Litke at (414) 225-5061 or elitke@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ericlitke.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Racist carnival game featured in 1942 Milwaukee YMCA brochure

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