Blackface is a style of theatrical makeup that originated in the
United States, used to affect the countenance of an iconic, racist,
American archetype, that of the "darky." Blackface also refers to a
genre of musical and comedic theatrical presentation in which
blackface makeup is worn. White blackface performers in the past used
burnt cork, then later greasepaint, to affect jet-black skin and
exaggerated lips, often wearing woolly wigs, gloves, tails or ragged
clothes to complete the transformation. Later, black artists also
performed in blackface. Blackface was an important performance
tradition in the American theater for over 100 years and was extremely
popular overseas, as well. The negative archetypes that comprised the
stock characters of blackface minstrelsy played a seminal role in
cementing and proliferating racist images and perceptions of, and
attitudes about, blacks worldwide. By the mid-20th century, changing
attitudes about race and racism effectively ended the prominence of
blackface performance in the U.S. and elsewhere.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Afonso the Conqueror became the first king of an independent Portugal.
José de San Martín met with Simón Bolívar in Guayaquil to plan for the
future of South America.
L. L. Zamenhof published Dr. Esperanto's International Language.
Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus
beginning the Cuban Revolution.
Syncom 2 became the world's first geosynchronous satellite.
Wikiquote of the day:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge