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Racial Geography in Cartoons

by Nicholas Sammond

Universal's 1937 cartoon Voodoo in Harlem is an excellent example of the fantastic geography of early sound cartoons. This geography imagined Africa, the Deep South, and the urban ghettoes of the northern United States (typified by Harlem) as one continuous space unified by black bodies. In this clip stereotypical ubangi natives sing about Haitian voodun practices taking place in the jazz clubs of Harlem.

Voodoo In Harlem

A 1938 video by Walter Lantz that creates an imaginary geography linking Africa, to Haiti, to the Old South, to Harlem...all through ink brought to life as fantastic black bodies.

from Voodoo in Harlem (1938)
Creator: Walter Lantz
Distributor: Universal
Posted by Nicholas Sammond