Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Racism in the Press regarding Queen Lili'uokalani

This is part two of a story I first posted on Monday,

Lewiston Saturday Journal, Lewiston, Maine, February 4, 1895, page 1
Hawaii’s Dusky Ex-Queen May Come to America”

The Evening News, San Jose, California, November 9, 1908, page 1
Former Ruler of Hawaii is in San Francisco”

My Memories of Eighty Years, by Chauncey M. Depew, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1921, page 279.
[How anyone could believe this story is beyond me, but here it is…]
“…at the dinner the dusky queen said to Queen Victoria: “Your Majesty, I am a blood relative of yours.”
“How so?” was the queen’s astonished answer.
“Why,” said Liliuokalani, “my grandfather ate your Captain Cook.” “

The myth of a black pagan queen demanding obedience from an uncivilized, uneducated island population was perpetuated through the press. In reality the Hawaiian Kingdom was almost 100 percent literate, with a royal palace more technologically advanced than the United States White House (King Kalakaua had an advanced electrical system, modern plumbing and ventilation installed during the construction of Iolani Palace in 1882) The population was largely Christian, and the government had a constitution, its’ own currency, postal system and stamps. Honolulu had hospitals and transportation more advanced than most of America. President Grover Cleveland had opposed the takeover, and demanded the withdrawal of the oppressors. However, distance, communication and the changeover to a new administration with the term of President McKinley caused the disintegration of the plan.

Some of the cartoons in the popular press were overly sexist and racist. They depicted the Queen using her feminine wiles, or as a wild native of Africa to denigrate her authority. The Hawaiian monarchy and culture were compared to an uncivilized civilization. I gave an example of a racism cartoon in my last blog post about the Queen in the press, here is another:

Cartoon titled "We Draw the Line At This" appearing in the magazine, The Judge, a US national magazine loosely connected with the Republican Party, depicting "Queen Lil" (depicted as an African) being carried on a plate by American marines. 1893. Courtesy of “Hawaiian Monarchy” Facebook Group. Cartoon, color lithograph. [New York], Judge, v25, 6331, December 2, 1893. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Archives. Honolulu, Hawai'i. Drawer Ills. press 1-2, Negative no. CP103.862, slide no. XS 30.786

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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