Sign in or register
for additional privileges

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

Nicholas Sammond, Author
Minstrelsy, page 1 of 7
Previous page on path     Next page on path


You appear to be using an older verion of Internet Explorer. For the best experience please upgrade your IE version or switch to a another web browser.

What Is a Blackface Minstrel?

Dating in the United States to around the 1830s, blackface minstrelsy is primarily an American performance form. It involves white actors applying black face makeup, wooly wigs, and eccentric costumes and performing as if they were African Americans performing the songs and dances learned from happy-go-lucky slaves on the plantation.

This picture depicts T.D. Rice, sometimes considered an originator of blackface minstrelsy, as the character Jim Crow. Rice claimed that he had seen an old black stable hand dancing a peculiar dance. According to Rice, he studied the man carefully, borrowing his clothing and recreating the dance as "Jump Jim Crow." Another version has Rice borrowing the dance from one African American man and the clothing from another.  In these stories, Rice seemed to link the performance of minstrelsy to its costume. Both performance and costume are important to the blackface minstrel.
Comment on this page

Discussion of "What Is a Blackface Minstrel?"

Add your voice to this discussion.

Checking your signed in status ...

Previous page on path Minstrelsy, page 1 of 7 Next page on path