Basic Minstrel Bibliography

The word ‘blackface’ typed into a ‘Google Books’ search results in 3,450 hits (August 2009). No doubt that will grow daily. Such access to information provides an extraordinary resource for anyone interested in finding out more about this subject (or any other), but it can also make it difficult to begin. Here are some basic sources.

For the most part, this list restricts itself to works published since the early 1990s, and to works with a significant discussion of blackface from any perspective–cultural and social history, histories of theatre, cinema, music and dance, as well as discussions of class and gender.  Much more will be found by the interested researcher in journal articles, dissertations, and archives.

The following list is excerpted from a bibliography compiled by Agnieszka Baranowska for the project “Biting the Invisible Hand: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Origins of American Animation,” (Nicholas Sammond, principal investigator).  This initial bibliography has been supplemented with materials compiled by Michael Reinhart from Burnt Cork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy.

Sub-headings follow on basic reading; basic websites; a selected bibliography; and a list of works that discuss the international presence of blackface.

To Begin–8 Works on the ‘Matter’ of Early American Blackface Minstrelsy
Anne-Marie Bean.  Inside the Minstrel Mask: Readings in Nineteenth-Century Blackface Minstrelsy.  Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1996.

Dale Cockrell. Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Gary D. Engle. This Grotesque Essence: Plays From the American Minstrel Stage.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

W. T. Lhamon. Raising Cain: Blackface Performance From Jim Crow to Hip Hop.  Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.

W. T. Lhamon. Jump Jim Crow: Lost Plays, Lyrics, and Street Prose of the First Atlantic Popular Culture.  Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Eric Lott. Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Hans Nathan. Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962/1977.

Robert C. Toll. Blacking Up: The Minstrel Show in 19th Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.

To Begin–Websites
www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/minstrel/mihp.html

University of Virginia website on blackface minstrelsy includes playbills, reviews, advertisements, letters, texts and songs.  Part of an important site tracing the history and legacy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in print, on stage, in film, and popular culture more generally.

www.utm.utoronto.ca/~w3minstr/index.html
The University of Toronto’s own Juba project.  Featuring performance archives, artist responses and a microhistory of blackface minstrelsy’s ‘export’ to the United Kingdom during the 1840s.

www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/foster/sfeature/sf_minstrelsy.html
This PBS website includes information on the history of blackface minstrelsy as well as responses by blackface historians, including Dale Cockrell.  It was created to accompany the PBS movie about American musician Stephen Foster, titled Stephen Foster.

Selected Works that discuss the traditions and legacies of blackface
Roger D. Abrahams. Singing the Master: The Emergence of African American Culture in the Plantation South. New York: Pantheon Books, 1992.

William Barlow. Voice Over: The Making of Black Radio. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999.

Anne-Marie Bean. Inside the Minstrel Mask: Readings in Nineteenth-Century Blackface Minstrelsy. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1996.

Daniel Bernardi. The Birth of Whiteness: Race and the Emergence of U.S. Cinema. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Robin Bernstein. Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights. New York: New York University Press, 2011.

Donald Bogle. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films. New York: Continuum, 2001.

Joseph Boskin. Sambo: The Rise and Demise of American Jester. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Daphne Brooks. Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.

Jayna Brown. Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Editor. Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Louis Chude-Sokei. The Last “Darky” : Bert Williams, Black-on-black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2006.

Dale Cockrell. Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Soyica Diggs Colbert. The African American Theatrical Body: Reception Performance and the Stage. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Catherine M. Cole. Ghana’s Concert Party Theatre. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

Catherine M. Cole, “Reading Blackface in West Africa: Wonders Taken for Signs,” Critical Inquiry 23, no. 1 (1996): 183–215.

Catherine M. Cole, “When Is African Theatre ‘Black’?” in Black Cultural Traffic, edited by Harry Justin Elam Jr. and Kennell Jackson. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2005.  pp. 43–58.

Ron Conner, “Brazilian Blackface: Maracatu Cearense and the Politics of Participation,” paper presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, UCLA, 13 November 2009.

James W. Cook. The Arts of Deception: Playing with Fraud in the Age of Barnum.  Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 2001.

David Coplan. In Township Tonight!: South Africa’s Black City Music and Theatre Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1985. pp. 37–42.

Susan Courtney. Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation: Spectacular Narratives of Gender and Race, 1903-1967. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2005.

Thomas Cripps. Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in American Film, 1900-1942. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Charles H. Day, Fun in Black; with The Origin of Minstrelsy by Col. T. Allston Brown. New York: DeWitt Publishing House, 1893.

Sam Dennison. Scandalize My Name: Black Imagery in American Popular Music. New York: Garland Publishing, 1982.

Andrés Duque, “Blackface at Bogota Pride + Latin American Pride 2006,” Blabbeando (online journal), 3 July 2006, http://blabbeando.blogspot.com/2006/07/blackface-at-bogota-pride-latin.html

Harry Elam. African-American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Ralph Ellison. Shadow and Act. New York: Random House, 1964.

Melvin Patrick Ely. The Adventures of Amos ‘n’ Andy: a Social History of an American Phenomenon. New York: Maxwell Macmillan, 1992.

Lynn Emery. Black Dance in the United States from 1619 to 1970. Palo Alto: National Press Books, 1972/1988.

Gary D. Engle. This Grotesque Essence: Plays From the American Minstrel Stage.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

Veit Erlmann. African Stars: Studies in Black South African Performance. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1991. pp. 27–31.

Veit Erlmann, “Spectatorial Lust: The African Choir in England, 1981-1893,” in Africans on Stage: Studies in Ethnological Show Business, edited by Bernth Lindfors. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999. pp. 107-130.

Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press, 1967/1986/1994.

Jon W. Finson. The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Tom Fletcher. One Hundred Years of the Negro in Show Business. New York: Da Capo Press, 1984.

Camille R. Forbes. Introducing Bert Williams: Burnt Cork, Broadway, and the Story of America’s First Black Star. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2008.

Stephen Foster. Minstrel Show Songs. New York: Da Capo Press, 1980.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Race, Writing and Difference. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Nadine George-Graves. The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville: The Whitman Sisters and the Negotiation of Race, Gender and Class in African American Theatre 1900-1940. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.

Sander L Gilman. Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1985.

Paul Gilroy. Against Race: Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000.

Susan Glenn.  Female Spectacle:  The Theatrical Roots of Modern Feminism.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000.

Brenda Dixon Gottschild. Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts. Westport, CN: Greenwood, 1996.

Janice Gray. Armstrong Catching the Tune: Music and William Sidney Mount. New York: The Museums at Stony Brooks, 1984.

Susan Gubar. Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Edward Guerrero. Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.

Lori Harrison-Kahn. The White Negress: Literature, Minstrelsy and the Black Jewish Imaginary. American Literature Innitiative, 2011.

Saidiya V. Hartman.  Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteeth-Century America.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1997.

Katrina Hazzard-Gordon. Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.

Errol Hill. The Jamaican Stage, 1655–1900: Profile of a Colonial Theatre. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.

Robert N. Hornick. The Girls and Boys of Belchertown: A Social History of the Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012.

Ronald L. Jackson. Scripting the Black Masculine Body: Identity, Discourse, and Racial Politics in Popular Media. State University of New York Press, 2006.

Richard Kislan. American Show Dance: From Minstrelsy to MTV. A Cappella Books, 1994.

Arthur Knight. Disintegrating the Musical: Black Performance and American Musical Film. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.

Jill Lane. Blackface Cuba, 1840–1895. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005

Daniel J. Leab. From Sambo to Superspade: the Black Experience in Motion Pictures. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975.

Robert Lewis, ed., From Traveling Show to Vaudeville: Theatrical Spectacle in America, 1830-1910. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

W. T. Lhamon. Raising Cain: Blackface Performance From Jim Crow to Hip Hop.  Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.

W. T. Lhamon. Jump Jim Crow: Lost Plays, Lyrics, and Street Prose of the First Atlantic Popular Culture.  Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Peter Linebaugh. The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, and the Atlantic Working Class in the 18th Century.

Bernth Lindfors, editor. Africans on Stage: Studies in Ethnological Show Business. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999.

Glenn Loney. Musical Theatre in America: Papers and Proceedings of the Conference on the Musical Theatre in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984.

Eric Lott. Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

William J. Mahar. Behind the Burnt Cork Mask: Early Blackface Minstrelsy and Antebellum American Popular Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Jacqui Malone. Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996.

Denis-Constant Martin. Coon Carnival: New Year in Cape Town: Past to Present. Cape Town: David Philip Publishers, 1999.

Doug McClelland. Blackface to Blacklist: Al Jolson, Larry Parks, and The Jolson Story. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1987.

George McKay. Yankee Go Home & Take Me With U: Americanization and Popular Culture. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997.

Sarah Meer. Uncle Tom Mania: Slavery, Minstrelsy, and Transatlantic Culture in the 1850s.  Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2005.

Hans Nathan. Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962/1977.

Y.S. Nathanson. “Negro Minstrelsy–Ancient and Modern.” Putnam’s Monthly: A Magazine of American Literature, Science, and Art V/25 (January), 72.

Mark E. Neely. The Boundaries of American Political Culture in the Civil War Era.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

Brian Norman. Neo-Segregation Narratives: Jim Crow in Post-Civil Rights American Literature. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

Robert Nowatzki. Representing African Americans in Transatlantic Abolitionism and Blackface Minstrelsy. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010.

Tavia Nyong’o, “Racial Kitsch and Black Performance,” Yale Journal of Criticism, 15:2 2002.

Michael Pickering. Blackface Minstrelsy in Britain. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008.

William Dillon Piersen. Black Legacy: America’s Hidden Heritage. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993.

Caryl Phillips. Dancing in the Dark. London: Secker & Warburg, 2005.

Harry Reynolds, Minstrel Memories: The Story of Burnt Cork Minstrelsy in Great Britain from 1836 to 1927. London: A. Rivers, 1928.

Edward Leroy Rice Monarchs of Minstrelsy, from “Daddy” Rice to Date. New York: Kenny Pub. Co. [c1911].

Thomas Laurence Riis. Just before Jazz: Black Musical Theatre in New York, 1890-1915. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

Thomas Laurence Riis. More Than Just Minstrel Shows: The Rise of Black Musical Theatre at the Turn of the Century. New York: Institute for Studies in American Music, Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, 1992.

Yeidy M. Rivero. “Caribbean Negritos: Ramón Rivero, Blackface, and ‘Black’ Voice in Puerto Rico,” Television & New Media 5, no. 4 (2003): 315–337.

Yeidy M. Rivero. Tuning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005.

David R. Roediger. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. New York: Verso, 1991/1999.

David R. Roediger. The Meaning of Slavery in the North.  New York: Garland Pub., 1998.

Michael Rogin. Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Constance Rourke. American Humor: A Study of the American Character. New York: New York Review Books (2004), 1931/1985/2004.

Louis Ruchames, “Jim Crow Railroads in Massachusetts,” American Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 1, Spring, 1956. pp. 61-75.

Henry T. Sampson. Blacks in Blackface: A Source Book on Early Black Musical Shows. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press 1980.

Alexander Saxton. The Rise and Fall of the White Republic: Class Politics and Mass Culture in 19th Century America. London: Verso, 1990.

Andrew Silver. Minstrelsy and Murder: The Crisis of Southern Humor, 1835-1925.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.

Eric Ledell Smith. Bert Williams: A Biography of the Pioneer Black Comedian. Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 1992.

Karen Sotiriopoulos. Staging Race: Black Performers in Turn of the Century America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Eileen Southern. The Music of Black Americans. New York: Norton, 1983/1997.

Seymour Stark. Men in Blackface: True Stories of the Minstrel Show. Xlibris Corporation, 2001.

Larry Starr. American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MTV.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

John Strausbaugh. Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006.

Jacqueline Stewart. Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

Robert C. Toll. Blacking Up: The Minstrel Show in 19th Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.

Nick Tosches. Where Dead Voices Gather.  Boston: Little Brown, 2001.

Kevern Verney. African Americans and US Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Richard Waterhouse. From Minstrel Shows to Vaudeville: The Australian Popular Stage 1788-1914. Kensington, NSW: New South Wales University Press, 1990.

Mel Watkins. On the Real Side: Laughing, Lying and Signifying: The Underground Humor Tradition of African-American Humor That Transformed American Culture, from Slavery to Richard Pryor. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Sean Wilentz. Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.

Bert Williams. Black-On-Black Minstrelsy, And The African Diaspora. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.

Linda Williams. Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Corin Willis. “Blackface Minstrelsy and Jazz Signification in Hollywood’s Early Sound Era,” in Thriving on a Riff: Jazz and Blues Influences in African American Literature and Film, ed. Graham Lock and David Murray. London: Oxford, 2009.

Marian Hannah Winter. “Juba and American Minstrelsy,” in Dance Index 6.2 (February 1947) 28-47.

Tim Wise. “Majoring in Minstrelsy: White Students, Blackface and the Failure of Mainstream Multiculturalism,” Lip Magazine, 22 June 2007.

Carl Frederick Wittke. Tambo and Bones: A History of the American Minstrel Stage. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1930/1968.

David Wondrich. Stomp and Swerve: American Music Gets Hot, 1843-1924.  Chicago, Ill.: A Cappella Books, 2003.

Sylvia Wynter, “Sambos and Minstrels,” Social Text No. 1, Winter 1979. pp 152.

AN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT

AUSTRALIA
Richard Waterhouse. From Minstrel Show to Vaudeville: The Australian Popular Stage, 1788–1914. Kensington, Australia: New South Wales University Press, 1990.

BRAZIL
Ron Conner, “Brazilian Blackface: Maracatu Cearense and the Politics of Participation,” paper presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, UCLA, 13 November 2009.

BRITAIN
Michael Pickering. Blackface Minstrelsy in Britain. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008.

COLUMBIA
Andrés Duque, “Blackface at Bogota Pride + Latin American Pride 2006,” Blabbeando (online journal), 3 July 2006, http://blabbeando.blogspot.com/2006/07/blackface-at-bogota-pride-latin.html

CUBA
Jill Lane. Blackface Cuba, 1840–1895. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

GHANA
Catherine M. Cole. Ghana’s Concert Party Theatre. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

JAMAICA
Errol Hill. The Jamaican Stage, 1655–1900: Profile of a Colonial Theatre. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.

PUERTO RICO
Yeidy M. Rivero. “Caribbean Negritos: Ramón Rivero, Blackface, and ‘Black’ Voice in Puerto Rico,” Television & New Media 5, no. 4 (2003): 315–337.

Yeidy M. Rivero. Tuning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005.

SOUTH AFRICA
David Coplan. In Township Tonight!: South Africa’s Black City Music and Theatre Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1985. pp. 37–42.

Veit Erlmann. African Stars: Studies in Black South African Performance. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1991. pp. 27–31.

Denis-Constant Martin. Coon Carnival: New Year in Cape Town: Past to Present. Cape Town: David Philip Publishers, 1999.

TRINIDAD
Louis Chude-Sokei. The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2006.

Veit Erlmann. “Spectatorial Lust: The African Choir in England, 1981–1893,” in Africans on Stage: Studies in Ethnological Show Business, edited by Bernth Lindfors. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.  pp. 107–130.

Catherine M. Cole, “Reading Blackface in West Africa: Wonders Taken for Signs,” Critical Inquiry 23, no. 1 (1996): 183–215.

Catherine M. Cole, “When Is African Theatre ‘Black’?” in Black Cultural Traffic, edited by Harry Justin Elam Jr. and Kennell Jackson. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2005.  pp. 43–58.