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Theatre and Performance Studies Commons

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Theatre

Theatre History

La Salle University

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Full-Text Articles in Theatre and Performance Studies

"I'S Not So Wicked As I Use To Was:" The Interplay Of Race And Dignity In Nineteenth-Century American Drama And Blackface Minstrelsy, Sam Volosky Apr 2018

"I'S Not So Wicked As I Use To Was:" The Interplay Of Race And Dignity In Nineteenth-Century American Drama And Blackface Minstrelsy, Sam Volosky

HON499 projects

Blackface was an extremely popular and pervasive performance type unique to nineteenth century American performance. For years, the black characters of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Octoroon were played by white actors in blackface makeup whereas mixed-raced characters were presented as white. These two plays, each having played a role in affecting public opinion toward slavery, do not stand out from the tradition of blackface minstrelsy and, subsequently, take part in subjugating black entertainers in the realm of theatre as well as society. The playwrights borrowed conventions of contemporary theatrical performance in order to cater to the tastes of ...