Clowns at the Circus | University of Illinois Archives
2630002_ACT_2_Circus_1926_1.jpg (JPEG Image, 87.54 KB)
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Content Warning: Racism; Blackface
Two students (left and middle) are dressed as clowns/hobos as entertainment for the interscholastic circus. The figure on the right is dressed in blackface to also act as a clown.
The interscholastic circus was an annual spring event where students, under the training of circus coach Carlos Wagner, trained as clowns and performers to put on a university circus show. There were awards presented to different categories focused on clownery, performance, and fraternity/sorority participation. Campus Greek life was integral to these performances every year.
We are aware of the racial stigma of the blackface illustrated in this image. While we do not condone this behavior, we provide context for this student behavior through these digital entries.
Due to the volatile nature of nitrate film, the image can be found here:
Copyright Bernard A. Strauch.
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