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)
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.
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.
1885 Minstrel Shows with whites performing in blackface and portraying blacks as foolish, ignorant and happy with their lot in life were at their height between 1850-1870. "Blackface performers are...the filthy scum of white society, who have stolen from us a complexion denied them by nature, in which to make money, and pander to the corrupt taste of their white fellow citizens." Frederick Douglass
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.