Obscurity of the Day: Uncle Rastus

Uncle Rastus, or often just Rastus, seems to have been purely a filler strip for the C.J. Hirt-copyrighted version of the McClure comics section. It only ran a handful of times between January 8 1905 and January 14 1906. Although the strip was never signed, the art is clearly by Ed Carey (or at least clear once I got this sample from Cole Johnson — on microfilm I couldn’t ID it).

Rastus is a pretty typical mush-mouthed ‘darkie’ of the time, the sort that was all over the comics sections back then. There is some redeeming value in the series, though, since Rastus is portrayed as a long-suffering victim of air-headed white folk, as in the example above. The majority of such series portrayed the black folks as ignorant child-like fools. Chalk at least a small one up for Ed Carey for working against stereotype.

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