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A playlist to accompany the book Blacks in Blackface: a sourcebook on early Black musical shows by Henry T. Sampson
Blacks in Blackface: A Sourcebook on Early Black Musical Shows by
Call Number: ML1711. S25B53 2014
Publication Date: 2013-10-30
Published in 1980, Blacks in Blackface was the first and most extensive book up to that time to deal exclusively with every aspect of all-African American musical comedies performed on the stage between 1900 and 1940. An invaluable resource for scholars and historians focused on African American culture, this new edition features significantly revised, expanded, and new material. In Blacks in Blackface: A Sourcebook on Early Black Musical Shows, Henry T. Sampson provides an unprecedented wealth of information on legitimate musical comedies, including show synopses, casts, songs, and production credits. Sampson also recounts the struggles of African American performers and producers to overcome the racial prejudice of white show owners, music publishers, theatre managers, and booking agents to achieve adequate financial compensation for their talents and managerial expertise. Black producers and artists competed with white managers who were producing all-Black shows and also with some white entertainers who were performing Black-developed music and dances, often in blackface. The chapters in this volume include: -An overview of African American musical shows from the end of the Civil War through the golden years of the 1920s and '30s -New and expanded biographical sketches of performers -Detailed information about the first producers and owners of Black minstrel and musical comedy shows -Origins and backgrounds of several famous Black theatres -Profiles of African American entrepreneurs and businessmen who provided financial resources to build and own many of the Black theatres where these shows were performed -A chronicle of booking agencies and organized Black theatrical circuits, music publishing houses, and phonograph recording businesses -Critical commentary from African American newspapers and show business publications -More than 500 hundred rare photographs A comprehensive volume that covers all aspects of Black musical shows performed in theatres, nightclubs, circuses, and medicine shows, this edition of Blacks in Blackface can be used as a reference for serious scholars and researchers of Black show business in the United States before 1940. More than double the size of the previous edition, this useful resource will also appeal to the casual reader who is interested in learning more about early Black entertainment.
Just Before Jazz: Black Musical Theatre in New York, 1890-1915 by
Call Number: ML1711.8.N3R5
Publication Date: 1989-09-17
This book fills a gap in our understanding of the history of American musical theater by bringing to light the unique contributions of black composers, producers, and performers to the origin and development of popular song form. Immediately striking is the revelation that the composers and performers working in black musical theater were often well educated and classically trained--a revelation that adds a fresh complexity to the usual notions of the evolution of black music. Riis concentrates on a discussion of the shows and the songs, often in musicological terms that might prove daunting to lay readers. Careful documentation and exhaustive appendixes make this work a valuable addition to music collections; it is also recommended for black history and larger theater collections.
- Mark Woodhouse, Gannett-Tripp Learning Ctr., Elmira Coll., N.Y.
Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class by
Call Number: ML1711. L67 2013
Publication Date: 2013-08-09
For over two centuries, America has celebrated the same African-American culture it attempts to control and repress, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the strange practice of blackface performance. Born of extreme racial and class conflicts, the blackface minstrel show appropriated black dialect, music, and dance; at once applauded and lampooned black culture; and, ironically, contributed to a "blackening of America." Drawing on recent research in cultural studies and social history, Eric Lott examines the role of the blackface minstrel show in the political struggles of the years leading up to the Civil War. Reading minstrel music, lyrics, jokes, burlesque skits, and illustrations in tandem with working-class racial ideologies and the sex/gender system, Love and Theft argues that blackface minstrelsy both embodied and disrupted the racial tendencies of its largely white, male, working-class audiences. Underwritten by envy as well as repulsion, sympathetic identification as well as fear--a dialectic of "love and theft"--the minstrel show continually transgressed the color line even as it enabled the formation of a self-consciously white working class. Lott exposes minstrelsy as a signifier for multiple breaches: the rift between high and low cultures, the commodification of the dispossessed by the empowered, the attraction mixed with guilt of whites caught in the act of cultural thievery. This new edition celebrates the twentieth anniversary of this landmark volume. It features a new foreword by renowned critic Greil Marcus that discusses the book's influence on American cultural studies as well as its relationship to Bob Dylan's 2001 album of the same name, "Love & Theft." In addition, Lott has written a new afterword that extends the study's range to the twenty-first century.