You are viewing a picture portraying a Minstrel. This is a lithograph advertising the William West Minstrel Show. The Lithograph was created in 1900, by the Strobridge Lithograph Company. Minstrel shows involved white men painting their faces black, and then putting on a show. The shows typically portrayed blacks as ignorant and of low class. The Minstrel show provided entertainment at the expense of African Americans.
Early on, the roles that Blacks portrayed in any form of media was the "mammy" "uncle tom" "buck" "wench/jezebel" "mulatto" or "pickaninny" Sometimes, most times, blacks weren't even cast by blacks. They had whites in blackface portray Blacks on stage. http://black-face.com/
The American minstrel performer Japanese Tommy, aka Thomas Dilward, circa 1860. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection. "Thomas Dilward (1840–1902), also known by the stage name Japanese Tommy, was an African American dwarf who performed in the blackface minstrel show". (Wiki)
Racist Symbols At the turn of the century, African Americans were most often portrayed in a very racist manner. The image above is a lithograph advertising a Minstrel show, which is a typical racist image of the day. The black man is portrayed as a fat lazy man, guarding his watermelon patch. Three black children are shown attempting to steal the black man's watermelons. The image was created by the Strobridge Lithograph company in 1900, and portrays Blacks in a very negative manner.
US Slave: About the Banjo by Tony Thomas....The banjo is a product of Africa. Africans transported to the Caribbean and Latin America were reported playing banjos in the 17th and 18th centuries, before any banjo was reported in the Americas. Africans in the US were the predominant players of this instrument until the 1840s. Banjo playing became popular in white culture as a result of the Blackface Minstrel shows that became a popular form of entertainment in the 1830s and 1840s.
March 19, 1894 Loretta Mary Aiken (Jackie “Moms” Mabley), stand-up comedienne, was born in Brevard, North Carolina. At the age of 15, Mabley ran away to Cleveland, Ohio with a travelling minstrel show where she began singing and entertaining.By the 1950s, she was one of the top women doing stand-up and earning $10,000 per week at the Apollo Theater.
Ned Haverly, grandson of J.H. Haverly who ran the United Mastodon Minstrels. Since he learned his act from one of the great 19th century minstrels shows, we get a good glimpse into how minstrel shows really looked and sounded.
Twain, Mark (1835–1910) Sam Clemens lived in Hannibal from age 4 to age 17. The town, situated on the Mississippi River, was in many ways a splendid place to grow up. Steamboats arrived there three times a day, tooting their whistles; circuses, minstrel shows, and revivalists paid visits; a decent library was available; and tradesmen such as blacksmiths and tanners practiced their entertaining crafts for all to see.