The Strange Career of Minstrelsy After the Civil War, minstrelsy , the slapstick blackface performances popularized by Rice, survived as a beloved form of entertainment. (Even Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens, an avid supporter of abolition before the war, enjoyed entertaining dinner guests in the 1870s and 1880s by performing his own Jim Crow impersonations.) 25 That such an industry based on stereotypical images of blacks continued to thrive through the turn of the century reveals that white American consumers preferred to imagine African-Americans as jovial, gimpy buffoons rather than accept more sober and truthful representations. By the early 1900s, the still fashionable term "Jim Crow" had evolved from a way for whites to refer to the "comic" and "simple" existence of an entire race of people into a description of the laws that controlled them; the ludicrous portrayal of a crippled black slave came to define the elaborate system of racial segregation in place in the American South since the 1870s.
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