Levi’s jeans sold for $76,000 reflect 19th century racist sentiment: NPR

Contemporary Levi’s jeans on display in a Kohl’s store. A pocket on a pair of 1880s Levi’s recently sold at auction reads: “The only type made by white workers.”

Jeff Chiu/AP


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Jeff Chiu/AP


Contemporary Levi’s jeans on display in a Kohl’s store. A pocket on a pair of 1880s Levi’s recently sold at auction reads: “The only type made by white workers.”

Jeff Chiu/AP

Levi’s jeans sold for over $75,000. Do not worry. Inflation isn’t that bad.

The really, really) old pair of jeans originated in the 19th century. The jeans were auctioned at an auction in New Mexico. Two vintage clothing collectors have teamed up to deposit the money to bring this piece of history back to California.

With the 15% buying commission, the duo (Zip Stevenson and Kyle Haupert) deposited a total of $87,400. The deal to do the deal together was made during the jeans auction. The case was captured by Haupert’s phone and posted on Instagram.

The pants were found years ago by denim historian Michael Harris in an abandoned mine shaft, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Aside from the wear on the pants and what buyers and Harris believe to be candle wax from the former wearer (a miner, they seem to believe), the jeans hold another piece of history – one that Levi’s will probably want to forget. .

One of the faded trouser pockets bears the phrase “The only guy made by white labor”.

“Levi Strauss & Co. is a company with a long and above all proud heritage. Throughout our history, we have strived to do good within and beyond our company and to be a force for good. equality and racial justice,” said Levi Strauss & Co., the NPR spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “But there were times when we failed.”

“An economic crisis in the United States in [the] The 1870s brought high unemployment and fueled anti-Chinese sentiment and rampant discrimination. In 1882, when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, there was significant social pressure not to hire Chinese workers and LS&Co. adopted an anti-China labor policy,” the spokesperson said.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first case in US history where immigrants were barred from entering the United States solely because of their race and social class. according to previous NPR reports. The law established a 10-year ban on Chinese workers immigrating to the United States. Other restrictions on the immigration of Chinese workers continued well into the 20th century, according to the National Archives.

At this time in the 19th century, Levi’s declared in advertisements and on its products that the products were “made by white labor”. The idea was that it would improve sales and align with consumer views at the time. The company then reversed its policy in the 1890s, the spokesperson said.

“We are totally committed to using our platform and our voice to advocate for true equality and fight racism in all its forms as it persists today,” the company said.

If you’re intrigued by this piece of clothing, Denim Doctors, a California vintage showroom run by Stevenson, has the jeans on display in their store.

“We show by appointment only as these are kept in a bank vault,” the outlet said. said on Instagram. “Do not hesitate to make an appointment by calling.”

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