Black Music Culture

A discussion of the minstrel show, common in American culture just before the Civil War.

This paper explains that the minstrel show, performed by whites in blackface, was extremely popular in the period just prior to and after the Civil War. In its original form, blackface minstrelsy comprised a chorus and two men who sang songs, told jokes, and danced. The blackface minstrel show established the stereotypes of the American Negro for popular culture. The writer shows the various elements of racism and hate evident in these shows and how they helped shaped the original stereotype of the American Negro.
“The imitation of blacks by whites is not completely understood, however, it may be deduced that a major contributing factor was the alleviation of white anxiety about race and racial matters. The whites were able to act out their feelings of superiority in a manner that was more socially acceptable (and economically lucrative) than lynchings. In the long run, it may have been more damaging to the black cause of acceptance and equality than the lynching might have been.