This is not racist…

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The other day a customer and I were discussing how we are so tired of political correctness!  As I explained in a previous post, HAHN INDUSTRIES has been manufacturing the ‘Jocko’ Jockey Boy statue since 1960.  I’ve had many customers ask me, “aren’t you afraid to be selling such a racist statue?”  My answer to them is always emphaticly the same, “NO… The Jockey Boy is not a symbol of RACISM!”  I proceed to explain the following…  “Some people say this story is urban legend, others say it is true”.  I hand them our pre-printed card and tell them, “decide for yourself”… 

The Legend of the Lawn Jockey

HAHN INDUSTRIES has been making the Jockey Boy Statue since 1960 (click on photos to enlarge)

The story begins the blistery winter night in December 1776 when General George Washington decided to cross the Delaware River to launch a surprise attack on the British forces in Trenton.

Jocko Graves was twelve-years old and the son of a free black man.  Jocko wanted to go along with General Washington to fight the Redcoats. Washington told Jocko he was too young and ordered him to watch over the horses and keep a lantern blazing along the shore of the Delaware River.  This is how he could help so the company would know where to return after the battle.  Many hours later, Washington and his men returned.  They saw the light but found Graves had frozen to death with the lantern still clenched in his fist. 

General Washington was so moved by the young boy’s devotion to the revolutionary cause he commissioned a statue of the ‘Faithful Groomsman’ to place in Grave’s honor at the General’s estate in Mount Vernon. 

The following is fact

Similar cast-iron statues began appearing in the decades after Washington’s crossing of the Delaware in jockey silks, whether for aesthetic reasons or confusion borrowed from Jocko’s name. The clothing worn by the lawn jockeys resembled the clothes worn by black riding jockeys, who have a glorious history. In 1875, the first 13 winners of the Kentucky Derby were black.

By the time of the Civil War, these ‘Jocko’ statues could be found on plantations throughout the South.  Like the North Star that pointed fleeing slaves to their freedom, the Jocko statue’s arm pointed to the safe houses of the Underground Railroad.  Along the Mississippi River, a green ribbon tied to the arm indicated safety; a red ribbon meant danger.

Therefore, contrary to some folk’s thinking these statues are a racial slur, they are a memorial to Jocko Graves, a beacon for Freedom and a tribute to some of the greatest Jockeys racing has ever known.  That’s Not Racist!

Jockey Boy Statues $120
Lined up in our warehouse.

 Later… Barbara

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18 responses »

  1. Interesting story. I want a Jacko statue for my front yard with a plaque of that story. Thanks for sharing that. And thanks for following my blog. Happy Present New Year!

  2. It’s Very nice that an “AH-MIRROR-CAN BID-NESS” can have one of its ownership “VOUCH” for the hiss-story of a SIZABLE event of this NATIONS INDEPENDENCE. IF you’ve seen the “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting by Whistler you’d NOTICE the man-of-colour sitting, looking, at G.W.. That man would be one of the militia’s ‘blacksmiths’/ ARMORER, someone that sees to the functionality of the collective WEAPONRY. His last name is GRAVES. The man’s SON, Joque, was TWELVE years old and, went with his FATHER FROM MONTECELLO,VA, (Washington’s “Farm”.) to fight the “red coats” during their raid at TRENTON, NJ. A Twelve year old “can” be a TAD anxious so, Washington gave the child a SOLDIER’S DUTY… To KEEP a Lantern LIT so that the Militia could return to the same demarcation point as where their supplies and, transportation were.
    Joque took his duty seriously and since, ( If one were to HAVE NOTICED.), IT WAS MID Winter.
    Being a ‘SLAVE’ “warm” clothing wasn’t in the PROVISIONS List…
    Joque DID EXACTLY what WAS ASKED of HIM. But, FROZE to DEATH… LANTERN, STILL LIT.
    George Washington HAD the MEMORIAL, that your family business so carefully covets, made, (Most likely BY his father.), and set such by the FRONT entry of his HOME.

    The change of history came about during the vacillations of the Kentucky Horse breeders, as they decided WHICH edge of the MASON/ DIXON LINE they preferred. Therefore …”THE Lawn JOCKEY”.

    If young, “Black” people knew this story and, that ‘UNCLE’ TOM’s “CABIN” WAS actually THREE VERY LARGE RESIDENCES on over TWO-HUNDRED ACRES…

    Your QUOTE beside this reply window says MORE than you REALIZE.

    “Mohandas Lighque”./ D’Ellis

      • It isn’t often that “one” of the “offending” party ACTUALLY REVEALS THE TRUTHS about so LARGE a MISCONCEPTION of the “OFFENDED”.
        You have THE GIFT of LIBERTY= RESPONSIBILITY= FREEDOMS… Practiced and, ALLOWED.
        “D” / Mohandas Lighque ( ‘LIKE YOU’)

  3. Thank you Mr. Lefall for taking the time to comment. Your website is awesome! I always delight in telling the Jocko story. I’m going to recommend to my customers they check it out! Just so you know, this is one of our most popular statues we make, probably thanks to you!

    • I know one day we shall observe a day for the first American child hero Jocko Graves. As we have done for George Washington. His story is in the reenactment of the crossing of the Delaware River December 25th 1776. Where they mention the lad and his actions. Known in Australia as the mascot for the city of Maitland. Also “Jocko a long way from home Down Under.” On line.

    • Hi Lori, We are currently out of stock, however if you check back in the Spring, we’ll have more available. Thanks for your interest ~ Barbara

  4. Hi Barbara, I am so proud of you helping to keep the story alive. History cannot be erased, I have over 30 years studing the statue jocko. The first American child her. My studies found jocko in Maitland Australia, where he is an Icon/Mascot. To be found in City Council office, Banks, Street corners and all types of memorabilia. The legend of Jocko / Jocko a long way from home Down Under. On Barnes & Noble, Google, Amazon, E-books. Thanks

    • We’re located in Central Illinois. 300 South Walnut Street Cullom, IL 60929. Right now due to road construction, give a call (815.689.2133) and I can help with directions. OPEN Monday – Saturday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Sundays 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

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