HISTORY OF BLACKFACE

A PAINFUL HISTORY

White performers would apply a layer of burnt cork (from a wine bottle) onto their faces to darken their skin, exaggerate their lips and wear woolly wigs while playing-out their projected characterizations of enslaved Africans and free Blacks. These performances, reinforced stereotypes and racist images that linger with us even today.

Blackface was a popular form of theater entertainment in the United States starting around the 1830s and lasting roughly 100 years.

An actual make-up guide from the early 1900s, published by DENISON (COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY EBEN H. NORRIS)

The 1951 film "Yes Sir, Mr. Bones" shows several EXAMPLES OF A BLACKFACE MINSTREL SHOW:

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