Robin Rice Burk
June 19, 2016
A lot of people don't know the real meaning behind these statues, so they vandalize them, and complain about them being racist, etc. During the US slave era, the image of a black 'footman' with a lantern signified the home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. These are largely a northern thing, and weren't commonly found in the South until after WWII when northerners moved there and brought this custom with them. The clothing of the statue was also coded. A striped jockey's shirt meant that this was a place to swap horses, while a footman in a tailed coat meant overnight lodgings/food, and a blue sailor's waistcoat meant the homeowner could take you to a port and get you on a ship to Canada. I always laugh when I hear folks talk about how racist these are, because honestly, the cats who had them were likely the LEAST racist. Later, these came back into popularity after WWII, and they were again coded to show the white homeowners supported early civil rights efforts, weren't Klan, etc
Original writer unknown
For those of you who need a reference to confirm the validity of this statement you may search The National Blacks in Wax page and/or enter the name Jocko Graves.