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Unformatted text preview: The Minstrel Show January 24, 2008 • Rise of the Minstrel Show o Emerged in the 19 th century, circa 1820 o Most popular in the period 1850-70 o Origins in the 18 th century in “Negro” or “Ethiopian songs” o Portrayed by Anglos who blackened their faces with burnt cork o Dressed in rags and utilized dialect o Songs widely published • The Minstrel Show “Jim Crow” o Fabric of minstrel show established in early 19 th century o “Jim Crow” created by Thomas D. Rice (1808-60) o Anglo actor from NYC- 7 th ward (enclave of Irish Americans) o Inspired to create Jim Crow by singing and dancing of black stable hand that he witnessed “Moved with a curious shuffle” “odd song” o Rice sang, danced, and dressed in “character” o “Jim crow”- first smash popular hit in America • “Jim Crow” o Playbill o Several ironies o Intended as an “authentic” act o Dance based on the “cakewalk” (parody of formal dances) Based on African American social customs Possibly a parody of cotillions – waltzes o Music was derived from an Irish folk song- identifies his own personal origins (7 th ward of NYC) o Public debut: NYC 1832 Although it becomes known as a Southern tradition, it originated in NYC o Performed throughout US and abroad o Published biography, The Life of Jim Crow (1835) Says Jim Crow not meant to be pernicious- rather a satire of public officials o Character was focus of controversy Abolitionists: exploiting slavery institution Jim Crow underlined depraved state of lower classes, especially African Americans Supporters: Jim Crow is a popular entertainment icon, merely for entertainment value (Frequent theme in our society- political correctness) o Phrase later signified segregationist laws of South o...
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This note was uploaded on 05/01/2008 for the course MUSC 023 taught by Professor Deldonna during the Spring '08 term at Georgetown.
- Spring '08