The historic fact that Minstrelsy produced America's first pop music is undisputed. That its subsequent influence on all American music going forward cannot be argued. That the African-American story cannot be told without understanding both the positive and negative aspects of this uniquely American art form goes almost without saying.

With those facts in place, we must also look at how the minstrel show helped perpetuate racial stereotypes. And how the wearing of blackface-- by both Caucasian and African-American men and women-- left a painful scar on America's cultural soul. Today the mere mention of black-faced minstrels is enough to cause panic.

Without a doubt the best book written on this subject is John Starusbaugh's "Black Like You." (https://www.amazon.com/Black-Like-You-Blackface-Whiteface/dp/1585424986)

(to be continued)