Blackface and Minstrelsy Tradition
This lecture will explore a brief history of Black representation as it appears in music publishing during the late 19th to the early 20th centuries. Following Emancipation, White entertainers and musicians adopted Black stereotypes into minstrel show performances. Minstrel shows were a form of popular entertainment that typically included racist blackface depictions and derogatory caricatures. In the Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction eras, we begin to see how white supremacy influenced the way Black people were represented in the realm of entertainment. Visual examples like Stephen Foster’s Massa’s in de Cold Ground (1852) or White, Smith & Co.’s I’se Gwine Back to Dixie (1874) will highlight the ways American popular music emerged and Black culture became intertwined.