Blackface

black faceblacked upblackface minstrelsyblacking upbrownfaceblack-facedblackblack facesBlack-facingblackened his face
Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person.wikipedia
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Minstrel show

minstrelminstrel showsminstrelsy
By the middle of the century, blackface minstrel shows had become a distinctive American artform, translating formal works such as opera into popular terms for a general audience.
The shows were performed by white people in make-up or blackface for the purpose of playing the role of black people.

Blackface in contemporary art

Blackface in contemporary art remains in relatively limited use as a theatrical device and is more commonly used today as social commentary or satire.
Blackface in contemporary art covers issues from stage make-up used to make non-black performers appear black (the traditional meaning of blackface), to non-black creators using black personas.

George Washington Dixon

George Dixon
Edwin Forrest played a plantation black in 1823, and George Washington Dixon was already building his stage career around blackface in 1828, but it was another white comic actor, Thomas D. Rice, who truly popularized blackface.
He rose to prominence as a blackface performer (possibly the first American to do so) after performing "Coal Black Rose", "Zip Coon", and similar songs.

Thomas D. Rice

T. D. RiceT.D. RiceDaddy Rice
Edwin Forrest played a plantation black in 1823, and George Washington Dixon was already building his stage career around blackface in 1828, but it was another white comic actor, Thomas D. Rice, who truly popularized blackface.
Thomas Dartmouth Rice (May 20, 1808 – September 19, 1860), known professionally as Daddy Rice, was an American performer and playwright who performed blackface and used African American vernacular speech, song and dance to become one of the most popular minstrel show entertainers of his time.

Jump Jim Crow

Jim CrowJimmy Crow
Rice introduced the song "Jump Jim Crow" accompanied by a dance in his stage act in 1828 and scored stardom with it by 1832.
"Jump Jim Crow" or "Jim Crow" is a song and dance from 1828 that was done in blackface by white minstrel performer Thomas Dartmouth (T. D.) "Daddy" Rice.

Dan Emmett

Daniel Decatur EmmettEmmettDaniel Emmett
In New York City in 1843, Dan Emmett and his Virginia Minstrels broke blackface minstrelsy loose from its novelty act and entr'acte status and performed the first full-blown minstrel show: an evening's entertainment composed entirely of blackface performance.
Daniel Decatur Emmett (October 29, 1815 – June 28, 1904) was an American songwriter, entertainer, and founder of the first troupe of the blackface minstrel tradition, the Virginia Minstrels.

The Black and White Minstrel Show

Black and White MinstrelsGeorge Mitchell MinstrelsBlack and White Minstrel Show
It quickly became popular elsewhere, particularly so in Britain, where the tradition lasted longer than in the U.S., occurring on primetime TV, most famously in The Black and White Minstrel Show, which ended in 1978, and in Are You Being Served?s Christmas specials in 1976 and finally in 1981.
The show was accused of racism and ethnic stereotyping by black anti-racist groups in the UK, such as the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination, due to its use of blackface.

Edwin Pearce Christy

E. P. ChristyE.P. ChristyEdwin P. Christy
(E. P. Christy did more or less the same, apparently independently, earlier the same year in Buffalo, New York.) Their loosely structured show with the musicians sitting in a semicircle, a tambourine player on one end and a bones player on the other, set the precedent for what would soon become the first act of a standard three-act minstrel show.
P. Christy''', and was the founder of the blackface minstrel group Christy's Minstrels.

Al Jolson

JolsonA. JolsonAsa Yoelson / Al Jolson, as a boy
White people who performed in blackface in film included Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, Irene Dunne, Doris Day, Milton Berle, William Holden, Marion Davies, Myrna Loy, Betty Grable, Dennis Morgan, Laurel and Hardy, Betty Hutton, The Three Stooges, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Donald O'Connor and Chester Morris and George E. Stone in Boston Blackie's Rendezvous.
Jolson has been dubbed "the king of blackface" performers, a theatrical convention since the mid-19th century.

Jim Crow laws

Jim CrowJim Crow eraJim Crow law
The name Jim Crow later became attached to statutes that codified the reinstitution of segregation and discrimination after Reconstruction.
The origin of the phrase "Jim Crow" has often been attributed to "Jump Jim Crow", a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface, which first surfaced in 1828 and was used to satirize Andrew Jackson's populist policies.

African-American culture

African American cultureblack cultureculture
Perhaps the most enduring effect of blackface is the precedent it established in the introduction of African-American culture to an international audience, albeit through a distorted lens.
In the 19th century, as the result of the blackface minstrel show, African-American music entered mainstream American society.

The Padlock

Lewis Hallam, Jr., a white blackface actor of American Company fame, brought blackface in this more specific sense to prominence as a theatrical device in the United States when playing the role of "Mungo", an inebriated black man in The Padlock, a British play that premiered in New York City at the John Street Theatre on May 29, 1769.
"The Padlock" was a success, largely due to Dibdin's portrayal of Mungo, a blackface caricature of a black servant from the West Indies.

Edwin Forrest

ForrestForrest divorce case
Edwin Forrest played a plantation black in 1823, and George Washington Dixon was already building his stage career around blackface in 1828, but it was another white comic actor, Thomas D. Rice, who truly popularized blackface.
Forrest soon gained fame for portraying blackface caricatures of African Americans.

Stephen Foster

Stephen Collins FosterStephen C. FosterFoster
The songs of northern composer Stephen Foster figured prominently in blackface minstrel shows of the period.
Many of Foster's songs were of the blackface minstrel show tradition popular at the time.

The Birth of a Nation

Birth of a Nation1915 filmBertha van Ation refers to the film ''Birth of a Nation
D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) used white people in blackface to represent all of its major black characters, but reaction against the film's racism largely put an end to this practice in dramatic film roles.
However, the film portrayed black men (many played by white actors in blackface) as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and presented the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as a heroic force.

Cross-dressing

cross-dressercross-dresscrossdressing
Another view is that "blackface is a form of cross-dressing in which one puts on the insignias of a sex, class, or race that stands in opposition to one's own."
"Wigging" refers to the practice of male stunt doubles taking the place of an actress, parallel to "paint downs", where white stunt doubles are made up to resemble black actors.

Film adaptations of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin1913 versionFilm adaptations of ''Uncle Tom's Cabin
In the first filmic adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1903), all of the major black roles were white people in blackface.

John Street Theatre

John Street Theatre (Manhattan)
Lewis Hallam, Jr., a white blackface actor of American Company fame, brought blackface in this more specific sense to prominence as a theatrical device in the United States when playing the role of "Mungo", an inebriated black man in The Padlock, a British play that premiered in New York City at the John Street Theatre on May 29, 1769.
The theatre was also the first to introduce "Blackface" performances to the United States, with Lewis Hallam Junior's blacked-up portrayal of Mungo in The Padlock, which premiered at John Street on 29 May 1769.

Dreadnought hoax

Dreadnought'' hoax
The famous Dreadnought hoax involved the use of blackface and costume in order for a group of high profile authors to gain access to a Military vessel.
The students obtained robes and turbans from the theatrical costumier Willy Clarkson, applied blackface make-up and took the train from London.

Othello

Othello, the Moor of VeniceThe Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of VeniceDesdemona
White people routinely portrayed the black characters in the Elizabethan and Jacobean theater (see English Renaissance theatre), most famously in Othello (1604).
In the past, Othello would often have been portrayed by a white actor in blackface or in a black mask: more recent actors who chose to 'black up' include Ralph Richardson (1937); Orson Welles (1952); John Gielgud (1961); Laurence Olivier (1964); and Anthony Hopkins (1981).

Sam Lucas

Even the 1914 Uncle Tom starring African-American actor Sam Lucas in the title role had a white male in blackface as Topsy.
His career began in blackface minstrelsy, but he later became one of the first African Americans to branch out into more serious drama, with roles in seminal works such as The Creole Show and A Trip to Coontown.

Eddie Cantor

The Eddie Cantor ShowEddie ''CantorEddie Cantor show
White people who performed in blackface in film included Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, Irene Dunne, Doris Day, Milton Berle, William Holden, Marion Davies, Myrna Loy, Betty Grable, Dennis Morgan, Laurel and Hardy, Betty Hutton, The Three Stooges, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Donald O'Connor and Chester Morris and George E. Stone in Boston Blackie's Rendezvous.
In 1912, he was the only performer over the age of 20 to appear in Gus Edwards's Kid Kabaret, where he created his first blackface character, "Jefferson".

Charles Callender

CallenderCharles Callendar
This company eventually was taken over by Charles Callendar.
Charles Callender was the owner of blackface minstrel troupes that featured African American performers.

Sam Hague

One of the most successful black minstrel companies was Sam Hague's Slave Troupe of Georgia Minstrels, managed by Charles Hicks.
Sam Hague (1828 – 7 January 1901) was a British blackface minstrel dancer and troupe owner.

Charles Hicks

Charles "Barney" HicksCharles Barney Hicks
One of the most successful black minstrel companies was Sam Hague's Slave Troupe of Georgia Minstrels, managed by Charles Hicks.
– 1902) was an African-American advance man, manager, performer, and owner of blackface minstrel troupes composed of African-American performers.