Cast iron sculpture (heavy) of an African American Lawn Jockey -- Jocko. Pre-1950s. The piece measures 11" tall and 3" square at the base. Probably a vintage reproduction, the jockey is wearing a red vest with a yellow tie. His cap is red and there is a screw in his cap which is also red. The paint is in GREAT condition but the piece is a little dusty and dirty. The tethering ring is intact and the screws holding the two sides together are a little rusty. The previous owner said she acquired it in the early 1950's.
Historical Background: George Washington created the first groomsman hitching post, (Jocko), in honor of the slave that froze to death in the 1770s while holding a lantern/horses for George Washington and his soldiers. General Washington wanted to mount a surprise attack on a British during the Revolutionary War. Several blacks, some of which who were slaves and free men, joined the group. A young black man named Tom Graves wanted to fight but George Washington said he was too young and asked the boy to hold a lantern for the troops as they crossed the Delaware. When the troops rowed back after the battle the reins of the horses were in the hands of Tom Graves, who had frozen to death. George Washington was awestruck by the boy’s dedication and made an order to make a statue made in his honor. These statues were also used as markers to the Underground Railroad throughout the South. Green ribbons were tied to the arms of the statue to indicate safety. Red ribbons meant to keep going. Most of the time, the slave masters didn't know what the ribbons were for.