This was a style of performance starting in the 1830s that consisted of white singers in blackface performing comical skits, dancing (to include cakewalks), and variety acts, that were a parody of black culture and plantation life. By the end of the Civil War, black singers began to perform in these shows, often in blackface. Popularity of the minstrel show began to slow by the end of the 19th century and gave way to the vaudeville shows by the turn of the century. Minstrel shows could be found through the early 1900s before becoming all but forgotten.
See also cakewalk.
| Dictionary Home | Dictionary Appendix |