Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Treasure Tuesday: MLK Funeral Fan

So last year my friends and I started going to Round Top, Texas every Fall and Spring for their huge Antiques Fair. It's fields and fields of vendors out in the middle of Texas Farm Land - mostly centered around Round Top, Pop. 77.

MLK Funeral Fan

One of my most unique finds was this promotional fan from the Hemphill Funeral Home of Houston, Texas. Printed in 1967, the fan features a well known photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and one of his most famous quotes. "I have a dream that one day this Nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal.'"

I pinned it up in my cubicle at work, and look at it every day for inspiration. Recently, I wanted to find out more about the fan, and started researching it using iTaggit's tools. I found out that the tradition of printed fans was very common in African-American Churches during this time, and that it still survives in some places. I just could not find any detailed info about the actual history of this kind of item online. This is a case where I will be better off going to a Library, or better yet, going and interviewing African-American Funeral Home owners in person. Sadly, a lot of this kind of history is taken for granted - like the plastic bread loaves we used to raise money for Church when I was a kid! You see something everyday, and don't think it has any historical value.

I LOVE History, especially African-American History, and now I am impassioned to keep searching for more. I found a few other fans for sale online - ranging from $15 to $215! The value of this fan is personal for me - it was printed in 1967, one year before Dr. King's assasaination, and is from my home State of Texas. I know how hot it gets here - especially in Houston!

What items do you have with an interesting story? Look at your walls and in your closets - surely there is something of value that deserves to be shown off to the world! I am off to research more about these fans!

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