black design in america

Blackface and Minstrelsy Tradition



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We offer our courses and classes at subsidized rates for students, educators, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) individuals.

If you are interested in a scholarship, please email us at [email protected] and we will help.

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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.

This class is available to purchase individually, or at a discounted rate when the course pass is purchased.


  • Kelly Walters

    Kelly Walters is an artist + designer + educator + researcher and the founder of Bright Polka Dot. Her practice includes teaching, writing and experimental publishing, with a particular focus on race and representation in design. Her ongoing design res...
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Licenses for institutional use are available and customizable to fit your needs. Contact us at [email protected] to provide your students, employees, and designers with access to our BIPOC Design History Course.

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