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Subject: those Bull Durham ads
It's a Jim Crow era advertising poster from circa 1900 - 1920; sometime between the beginning of
the 20th century and the great stock market crash of 1929. I'm guessing early 1920s.

The posters were found in rural stores all over the United States, not just the south and reflect a
common attitude towards blacks during the Jim Crow era. They depict blacks in the same fashion
as minstrel shows, Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer" and early Amos 'n Andy on the radio.

It plays on racial stereotypes to target the largely uneducated rural white population of the time,
and represents the rise of Madison Avenue.

Their magazine and newspaper advertising was a bit more sophisticated and somewhat less overtly racist.

The final surrender of Confederate armies to end the Civil War occurred at the Bennett farm
near Durham, NC on April 26, 1865. At that time Durham was little more than a few dirt streets
around a railroad station. The station was there to accommodate tobacco growers in the area.
It was their link to markets.,_North_Carolina

After the Civil War, soldiers remembered the tobacco and created a large mail order demand that
eventually grew into a national business of supplying that demand. Bull Durham was a product of
the W.T. Blackwell Company in Durham, NC. It was sold as loose tobacco in pouches for smoking
in pipes and "roll your own" cigarettes.,_North_Carolina#Reconstruction_and_the_rise_of_Durham_tobacco

By the time this poster was produced, the W.T.Blackwell Company had been overtaken and merged
into the American Tobacco Co. When American Tobacco monopoly was broken up, I believe the rights
to the Bull Durham brand name was retained by either the (non-monopoly) American Tobacco Co or by Liggett & Myers.

In any case, the advertising campaign this poster represents was likely produced out of New York City,
since by early 20th century tobacco was a multi-million (if not already billion) dollar industry and the
advertising could certainly not be entrusted to the yokels down in North Carolina.
 John S


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