Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Sandra Jean Graham

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041631

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041631.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 15 October 2019

The Minstrel Show Gets Religion

The Minstrel Show Gets Religion

Chapter:
(p.125) Chapter 5 The Minstrel Show Gets Religion
Source:
Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry
Author(s):

Sandra Jean Graham

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041631.003.0005

After the Civil War, blackface minstrels found in religion a steady stream of subject matter tailor-made for comedic treatment. This chapter examines three songs that nicely illustrate the postwar phenomenon of religious parody in its infancy and its evolution toward slave-themed entertainment: “Carry the News! We Are All Surrounded” (1870), “Rock’a My Soul” (1871), and “Contraband Children” (1872). Performed initially by whites in blackface, these songs replicate the musical style of black folk spirituals in their parody of a camp meeting. The story of “Carry the News” in particular shows how blackface entertainers were already drawing on musical styles and themes loosely related to those of spirituals, and how the public easily confused newly created popular songs with traditional folk songs. When the vogue of jubilee singing began to spread a few years later, minstrelsy was primed for a convergence and eventual merger with jubilee song. As black minstrel entertainers multiplied, white minstrels increasingly found that they had to cede their plantation-themed material to them.

Keywords:   Camp meeting, folk spiritual, blackface minstrelsy, parody of religious song, religious burlesque, Walter Bray, Charley Howard, “Carry the News—We Are All Surrounded” (minstrel song), Simmons and Slocum’s Minstrels, Fayette Welch, Welch, Hughes and White’s Minstrels, J. W. McAndrews (blackface dancer), Georgia Minstrels, “Rock’a My Soul” (minstrel song), “Rock o’ My Soul” (folk spiritual), Fred Cartee, “Contraband Children” (minstrel song), [William] Delehanty and [Thomas M.] Hengler, commercial spirituals

Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.