By the turn of the twentieth century, American visual culture had cleaved two distinct paths for white and black children. Images found in advertising, literature, and social science journals painted a delinquent, diseased, and dehumanized portrait of black childhood. Those visuals stood in marked contrast to angelic profiles of white children. Such a divide held profound consequence, both ideological and practical, in the post-emancipation era—helping to define the boundaries of childhood innocence; the terms of full citizenship; and, among other concerns, the bodily integrity of black Americans.
From street parades to outdoor rallies to vaudeville shows, suffragists made spectacles of themselves. Although voiceless speeches departed from the usual pageantry, they too commanded large audiences—proving there could be spectacle in silence.