Also on the Stephen Foster website is a set of 12 very brief essays on blackface minstrelry. The essays come from interviews with historians Dale Cockrell, Eric Lott, Deane Root, Fath Ruffins and Josephine Wright, writers Ken Emerson and Mel Watkins, and performers Nanci Griffith and Thomas Hampson. Topics are:
1. How did blackface minstrelsy begin?
2. Why did it spread in the 1830s?
3. What was a blackface minstrel show?
4. Who went to the shows?
5. How were the minstrel shows racist?
6. Was blackface minstrelsy only about caricaturing blacks?
7. How did class frictions relate to blackface minstrelsy?
8. How did class issues relate to the race issues?
9. Although blackface minstrelsy was racist, did it have any benefit for African Americans?
10. What's the connection between blackface minstrelsy and rock and roll?
11. What legacy did blackface minstrelsy create for American culture today?
12. Should we change Foster's songs to remove their racist aspects, or not perform them?
If you want to review what we said about folk music, popular music and art music on the first day of class, and I'll bet you do because you'll be writing about it, this link will take you to our blog "HUM 223: First day, syllabus, etc. [folk, pop, art]" that explains the terms.
And here's a link to the lyrics of "Hole in the Bucket". Again, I strongly recommend you have the lyrics open in another window as you watch the video and that you quote from them as you write your midterm.