THE JOHN HARVARD LIBRARY
Cover: Jim Crow, American: Selected Songs and Plays, from Harvard University PressCover: Jim Crow, American in PAPERBACK

Jim Crow, American

Selected Songs and Plays

Product Details

PAPERBACK

Print on Demand

$31.00 • £26.95 • €28.95

ISBN 9780674035935

Publication Date: 11/30/2009

Trade

224 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

Belknap Press

The John Harvard Library

World

Add to Cart

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Jim Crow is the figure that has long represented America’s imperfect union. When the white actor Thomas D. Rice took to the stage in blackface as Jim Crow, during the 1830s, a ragged and charismatic trickster began channeling black folklore through American popular culture. This compact edition of the earliest Jim Crow plays and songs presents essential performances that assembled backtalk, banter, masquerade, and dance into the diagnostic American style. Quite contrary to Jim Crow’s reputation—which is to say, the term’s later meaning—these early acts undermine both racism and slavery. They celebrate an irresistibly attractive blackness in a young Republic that had failed to come together until Americans agreed to disagree over Jim Crow’s meaning.

As they permeated American popular culture, these distinctive themes formed a template which anticipated minstrel shows, vaudeville, ragtime, jazz, early talking film, and rock ‘n’ roll. They all show whites using rogue blackness to rehearse their mutual disaffection and uneven exclusion.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

A stack of five bestselling titles from Harvard University Press against a hot pink textured background

Ringing in the New Year with HUP’s 2022 Bestsellers

There is no better way for readers to usher in the new year than by looking back to the books that defined the last. For Harvard University Press, our 2022 bestsellers make up a diverse list of books across time and discipline.