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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: 26 September 2021

Culture Wars

Culture Wars

(p.214) 8 Culture Wars
Blackface Nation

Brian Roberts

University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that the Hutchinson Family in the 1840s and 1850s, with their ardently abolitionist stance, were both controversial and at the center of American popular culture. They also found themselves at the center of a culture war in the United States that would lead to the Civil War and decide the fate of slavery. The musical score for the other side of this culture war was blackface minstrelsy. By the 1850s, blackface became increasingly successful as well and focused increasingly on two characters: the “Loyal Uncle” or “Aunt Mammy” and the “Happy Slave.” The focus on such characters moved blackface into politics, as a defense of slavery, as much as the Hutchinsons’ music attacked the institution.

Keywords:   abolitionism, Hutchinson Family Singers, Our Nig, popular culture, racism, slavery, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Beecher Stowe

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