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Jim Crow: The Man, The Song, The Laws

2083 words - 8 pages

Throughout time, Jim Crow has come to mean a vast amount of things. Segregation, primarily taking place in the Southern part of the U.S, came about after the Civil War. Segregation affected numerous people on a personal level. Jim Crow laws played an important role in the political and social lives of the South.Over time, Jim Crow has come to mean a few different things. Jim Crow originally started as the name of a minstrel show character. The minstrel show most likely came from the imitation of blacks by white actors between acts of plays or during circuses. The main man in minstrel shows was Thomas Dartmouth Rice. Throughout the 1830's, Rice had many imitators. In 1842, the songwriter Daniel Decatur Emmett and three other men came up with a show of singing and dancing in blackface to bone castanets, the violin, the banjo, and the tambourine. They called themselves the Virginia Minstrels and made their first appearance in a New York City theater. A different group called the Christy Minstrels began appearing a few years later and created many important features of the minstrel show. These included seating the performers in a half circle on the theater, with a tambourine player, often known as Mr. Tambo, at one end and a entertainer on the bone castanets, frequently called Mr. Bones, at the other end. During this, the performers would sing songs and exchange jokes. After the Civil War, minstrel shows became even more popular than before. The most famous of the minstrel composers was James Bland. After 1870, the popularity of the minstrel show declined quickly.Jim Crow then became well known for the song "Jumpin Jim Crow" Between 1828 and 1831 Thomas D. Rice developed a song-and-dance routine. In it, he impersonated an old, crippled black slave named Jim Crow. This routine achieved instantaneous popularity, and he successfully performed it in the United States and Britain. The song became very well in the United States and internationally. The USA ambassador to Central America wrote that upon his appearance in Merida the local brass band played "Jump Jim Crow" under the mistaken thought that it was the USA's national anthem. The song went as follows:"Come, listen, all you gals and boys, I'm just from Tuckyhoe; I'm gwine to sing a little song, My name's Jim Crow. Chorus: Wheel about, an' turn about, an' do jis so; Eb'ry time I wheel about, I jump Jim Crow. I went down to de river, I didn't mean to stay, But there I see so many gals, I couldn't get away. I'm rorer on de fiddle, an' down in ole Virginny, Dey say I play de skientific, like massa Pagganninny. I cut so many munky shines, I dance de galloppade; An' w'en I done, I res' my head, on shubble, hoe or spade. I met Miss Dina Scrub one day, I gib her sich a buss; An' den she turn an' slap my face, an' make a mighty fuss. De udder gals dey 'gin to fight, I tel'd dem wait a bit; I'd hab dem all, jis one by one, as I tourt fit. I wip de lion ob de west, I eat de alligator;" (Jim Crow,...

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