This book is an entire history, up until the year it was printed, of the Minstrel Stage and the most notable Blackface Performers. Blackface was an important performance tradition in the American theater for roughly 100 years beginning around 1830. In both the United States and Britain, blackface was most commonly used in the minstrel performance tradition, but it predates that tradition, and it survived long past the heyday of the minstrel show. The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the Civil War, black people in blackface. White blackface performers in the past used burnt cork and later greasepaint or shoe polish to blacken their skin and exaggerate their lips, often wearing woolly wigs, gloves, tailcoats, or ragged clothes to complete the transformation. Later, black artists also performed in blackface. Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrelsy played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide. In some quarters, the caricatures that were the legacy of blackface persist to the present day and are a cause of ongoing controversy. This book chronicles the most prominent blackface performers beginning with “Daddy” Rice (born in NYC on May 20, 1808 died September 19, 1860). Thomas "Daddy" Rice introduced the earliest slave archetype with his song "Jump Jim Crow" and its accompanying dance. He claimed to have learned the number by watching an old, limping black stable hand dancing and singing, "Wheel about and turn about and do jus' so / Eb'ry time I wheel about I jump Jim Crow." Other early minstrel performers quickly adopted Rice's character. This book is profusely illustrated throughout with drawings and photographs.