A History of Blackface — Mistakes Were Made

Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used predominantly by nonblack performers to represent a caricature of a black person. The blackface tradition began in American theatres around 1830. Early white performers in Blackface used burnt cork and later greasepaint or shoe polish to darken their skin and exaggerate their lips. Actors also wore wooly wigs, gloves, tailcoats, and ragged clothes to complete the look…