The History of African Americans in Film

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Minstrel shows were developed in the 1840's and reached its peak after the Civil War. They managed to remain popular into the early 1900s. The Minstrel shows were shows in which white performers would paint their faces black and act the role of an African American. This was called black facing. The minstrel show evolved from two types of entertainment popular in America before 1830: the impersonation of blacks given by white actors between acts of plays or during circuses, and the performances of black musicians who sang, with banjo accompaniment, in city streets. The 'father of American minstrelsy' was Thomas Dartmouth 'Daddy' Rice, who between 1828 and 1831 developed a song-and-dance routine in which he impersonated an old, crippled black slave, dubbed Jim Crow. Jim Crow was a fool who just spent his whole day slacking off, dancing the day away with an occasional mischievous prank such as stealing a watermelon from a farm. Most of the skits performed on the Minstrel shows symbolized the life of the African American plantations slaves. This routine achieved immediate popularity, and Rice performed it with great success in the United States and Britain, where he introduced it in 1836. Throughout the 1830s, up to the founding of the minstrel show proper, Rice had many imitators. In 1842, in New York City, the songwriter Daniel Decatur Emmett and three companions devised a program of singing and dancing in blackface to the accompaniment of bone castanets, violin, banjo, and tambourine. Calling themselves the Virginia Minstrels, they made their first public appearance in February 1843 in a New York City theater. Another group called the Christy Minstrels, headed by the actor Edwin P. Christy, began appearing a few years later and ... ... middle of paper ... ... which he received universal praise. Other films included The Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea, The Negotiator, Unbreakable, and Shaft. Despite his fame as a great Hollywood actor, Jackson has made time for stage work and independent films in order to stay close to his acting roots. Samuel L Jackson has then came to appear in many great movies such as Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, A Time To Kill, One Eight Seven, Shaft, Coach Carter, Star Wars and many others. He has also been nominated for many of these and has received many awards for a lot of these films. He is still acting and does not seem to be thinking of retirement any time soon. He truly is a great example of a great actor who rose to fame in the time of blaxploitation and also an inspiration to all those with addiction problems as someone who was able to overcome his problem and make something of himself.
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