Monday, July 28, 2008

Why Come There Ain't No Black People In Mayberry?

This is another post that is not about the Northwest, but I found something too good not to share!

There is a real historical point to be made here. The Andy Griffith Show ran from 1960 to 1968, at the very height of the Civil Rights movement. For millions of white Americans part of the appeal of the show was its nostalgic portrayal of an idyllic South, one without bus boycotts or sit-ins or indeed any black people at all.

How did I find this? Well, today Kevin Levin over at Civil War Memory posted a little clip from The Andy Griffin Show in which it is revealed that no one in the town of Mayberry seems to know what the Emancipation Proclamation might be. Well why should they, I thought, there were no blacks in Mayberry. Suddenly it occurred to me how strange it was that the most popular TV series ever set in the American south didn't have any black people. Or did it?

I Googled up this defensive fan FAQ: "There are MANY towns in the south without black people. Also, you are wrong that there were no blacks in Mayberry. If you watch the people in the background, you'll see several black townspeople walking down the sidewalk and being a part of town."

That FAQ included a link to the delightful African-Americans in Mayberry page, where some fellow posted a bunch of screen captures, mostly of street scenes in which some black person is walking past the main character. Red arrows helpfully point out the passing blacks, as we see below:


Ari said...

Have you read this?

Larry Cebula said...

Ari: I have not. I just perused a few pages (OK, I did a search for Mayberry and read what I found) and it seems too American Studies-ish for sustained reading.

Elisabeth said...

Do extras who are black count? If so yes there were black people on TAGS in several seasons.

Unknown said...

There was a black woman in the episode Barney gets his man. This particular woman was in other episodes.