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Strawberry Festival Promotes with ‘Jim Crow-like’ Black Faces of Kids: Racist or Not?

Pickaninny like poster for Strawberry Festival spark outrage

This poster for Louisiana’s Strawberry Festival depicting two ‘black faces’ or should we say ‘faceless’ black children has sparked controversy amongst people who view the image as offensive and racist.

The poster which was submitted by Kalle Siekkinen for a competition for Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival was chosen as the winner to be the official poster promotion for the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.

The image shows two African-American children with no faces and their white Sunday best outfits, with the little girl holding a basket of strawberries and both children’s lips painted red.

The response has been split between people who deem the image as cute and sweet while others say the image looks like something from the ‘Jim Crow’ era during the days when black children were depicted as ‘pickaninnies.’

Pickaninny is defined as children of black descent who were often depicted with wide eyes, big red lips and black faces sometimes holding watermelons.

Here is a side by side comparison.

old Pickaninny vs new Pickaninny poster

Apparently Kalle Siekkinen was inspired by Bill Hemmerling whose Strawberry Festival poster was an image of a faceless black child holding a basket of strawberries wearing a white dress and hat with red painted lips.

2008 and 2015 Strawberry Festival poster

The festival has drawn even more criticism due to the fact that the majority of the organizers are white.

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