3. Dunking Booths Were A Violent By-Product Of Segregation
Dunking booths are the staple of fairgrounds and church carnivals everywhere. They combine feats of strength, lightly hurting someone, and amusement. It is fun that anyone can get behind.
However, the original dunking booths had a very specific audience. In the later 1800s, the craze of target games swept the country, including a game called the “African Dodger.”
Behind painted plantation scenes, black men stuck their heads up. The thrower would then try to hit the living human in the head with a baseball. If the thrower hit the target, he got a prize.
After a while, the carnies realized that it was mean to throw projectiles at human heads. In a rare moment of empathy for the 1800s, the human heads were replaced with wooden stand-ins called “Negro Heads.”
The two games were brought together to make the “African Dip.” In these new games, the thrower hit the target and triggered a release, causing the black person to fall in the water. Eventually, anybody could sit up there and take a plunge.