From the Past: Minstrel Shows

The first minstrel shows started in the 1830's and ended about the 1960's.

Minstrel shows thrived from the 1830’s to the 1960’s and were a form of entertainment which featured blacks or whites in blackface.

It is strange to me that whites would mimic black people at the same time the KKK was running rampant. It makes me wonder if some KKK members, weren’t also appearing in the minstrel shows.

I can remember actually seeing at least one minstrel show in Pineville, Louisiana at the Community Center on Main Street in the 50’s or 60’s. I can’t remember much about the shows except the white men wearing blackface.

The minstrel shows are one of the earliest forms of entertainment in the United States and were an America only creation unlike other forms of entertainment.

Some thought of minstrel shows as a form of racism making fun of the black people and portraying them in a negative light.

Once the civil rights movement took hold the minstrel shows were doomed as they were thought of just another way whites were humiliating blacks. It was similar to the thoughts of  some blacks regarding the Amos and Andy radio program and television series.

While some blacks enjoyed Amos and Andy civil rights proponents thought of it as just another way for whites to depict blacks in a negative way. The radio program had two white men portraying black characters while the television version used black actors.

This is part of a typical minstrel show when blackface was popular.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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