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Birth of An Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation

Nicholas Sammond, Author

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Performance, Page 67

This detail from a playbill for Christy's Minstrels promises to portray the “Peculiar Characteristics of the Southern Plantation Negroes.” The minstrel show was a site of production of an imagined form of "blackness." Popular minstrel troupes such as Christy's or Primrose and West's Big Minstrels would claim to have white members who had actually witnessed the dance and songs of black slaves on plantations and brought them back for white audiences. This quasi-anthropological conceit produced fantastical, imaginary black bodies created through the celebration of the appropriation of African American bodies and culture. (Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.)

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