thanksgiving ragamuffins

November 24, 2011

while looking for some thanksgiving images to share, i came across several photos of kids in costume dressed up as “ragamuffins” or “maskers”- ashy faces, oversized ragdoll clothes, their parents wallets and handbags- begging for pennies in the 1930s and 1940s. it seems like this tradition of dressing up like beggars was confined to new york (here are a lot of childhood memories from the brooklyn area). kids would collect pennies from neighbors while shouting, “anything f’ thanksgiv’n?” and singing songs.

while it’s not exactly pc to dress up like you’re poor and beg for money, it’s still an interesting part of history that probably transformed into the halloween trick or treating that we grew up with. and it brings up a lot of issues that are still a problem today- hunger, poverty, racism, etc.

this thanksgiving, we here at BIG THINGS are grateful for many things, including our family, friends, homes, etc. but we’re also thankful for the right to speak up for those who don’t necessarily have the comforts that we have. many people lost their homes in the past few years, don’t have the means to have an enormous thanksgiving feast, or might not be close to family.

we hope that this thanksgiving you celebrate and keep in mind those that have struggled and those that have sacrificed this year and every year. happy thanksgiving!

images via library of congress & nypl

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