"He was in the Street Sweeper’s section, in a stovepipe hat, carrying a two-inch Italian flag, smoking a cigar among the brooms and scoops."
Uncle Sam cigar box
Public DomainUncle Sam cigar box - Credit: National Cigar Museum

The Street Sweeper’s section followed up the tail-end of a parade and was responsible for scooping up horse manure and other debris. Deacon’s attire, much grander than was usual for a street sweeper, is — bar the Italian flag — somewhat suggestive of Uncle Sam, the personification of the American people and government. Deacon’s alliance of himself with this figure of patriotism and power is illustrative of the way in which he plays with racial and status-related signifiers.