Camptown Races: Blackface Minstrelsy, Stephen Foster, and Americanization in Japanese Internment Camps

Lecture | March 19 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 3335 Dwinelle Hall

 Dr. Rhae Lynn Barnes, Assistant Professor of History, Princeton University

 Department of History

This talk will contextualize the recent blackface scandals in Virginia by examining the central role amateur blackface minstrel shows played in the United States government. In the century spanning the end of the Civil War to the birth of the Civil Rights Movement (an era called “Jim Crow,” after the first blackface character), the American government refocused domestic and foreign policy to federalize, finance, distribute, codify, and produce racist amateur blackface music and plays in public schools, the military, and everyday American life as an expression of patriotic duty and as a way to test readiness for American citizenship.

 Light lunch provided.