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

Nicholas Sammond, Author
Race, page 5 of 25


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Race, Page 220

The opening of Trader Mickey (1932) finds Mickey and Pluto making their way upriver in a paddle-wheel boat. 

Mickey Mouse became the trademark icon for Walt Disney Productions. He was presented as a real and autonomous creature, even though he depended on animators to appear alive. This contradiction defined Mickey and other cartoon minstrels like him: capricious but ultimately obedient, coded as simultaneous black and white. 

This cartoon also serves as an example of the complex sadomasochism that informed continuing animated characters who participated in the performance traditions of blackface minstrelsy. 

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