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Blackface NationRace, Reform, and Identity in American Popular Music, 1812-1925$
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Brian Roberts

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226451503

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226451787.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Jim Crow’s Genuine Audience

Jim Crow’s Genuine Audience

(p.74) 3 Jim Crow’s Genuine Audience
Blackface Nation

Brian Roberts

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the culture of young white American workers in the 1820s, a period in which it became clear to many apprentice and journeymen that their futures would not be as artisans, but as members of a permanent working class. Worker culture in this period shifted from artisan republicanism which embraced the dignity of labor, to an angry expression of aggressive masculinity: a style expressed in the songs and images of blackface minstrelsy. Blackface would focus the anger of an emerging working class. The target of this anger would not be the people directly responsible for worker degradation, their former masters, but the representatives of a culture of uplift, the members of a rising middle class.

Keywords:   blackface minstrelsy, Jim Crow, market revolution, artisans, working class culture, republicanism, slavery, abolitionism, women workers, gender ideology

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