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Lena Horne . Lena Horne. First performed as a chorus girl at the Cotton Club, 1934 Sang for the troops in Germany, WWII US Army was still segregated Horne refused to sing to an audience in which German POWs were seated in front of African-American US soldiers

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lena horne1
Lena Horne
  • First performed as a chorus girl at the Cotton Club, 1934
  • Sang for the troops in Germany, WWII
  • US Army was still segregated
  • Horne refused to sing to an audience in which German POWs were seated in front of African-American US soldiers
  • Walked off the stage and sang near the back of the room instead
  • Common in times of social and economic tension
  • Execution carried out by a mob usually by hanging
    • Also includes burning at the stake, stoning, and shooting
  • Used to punish “transgressor” and intimidate others of that same group
emmett till1
Emmett Till
  • 14-year-old boy from Chicago killed in Mississippi in 1955
  • This event was a major catalyst for the Civil Rights movement
  • Forced everyone to question the “fairness” of Jim Crow laws, segregation, lynching, etc.
strange fruit
“Strange Fruit”
  • Poem written in 1936
  • Written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish school teacher in NYC
  • Used the pen name

“Lewis Allan”

  • Published in a teaching

union magazine

  • In reaction to the

lynching of two men

“Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol

Southern trees bear strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,

Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,

Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,

For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop,

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

the jazz singer 1927
The Jazz Singer, 1927
  • First “talkie”
    • full-length film withdialogue
  • Al Jolson wears “blackface”

to perform onstage

  • Trying to hide his true

identity as a Jewish immigrant

dumbo 1941
Dumbo, 1941
  • Jim Crow and friends
  • Critics accuse the film of racial stereotyping
  • Others reject this claiming . . .
    • The crows are sympathetic characters
    • Free spirits who are

intelligent and


“Blackface” virtually ended in U.S. with Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s
  • Continues to be a “hot button” issue
  • Beyonce in L’Officiel Paris


In their 90th-anniversary issue, the pop icon pays tribute to African culture, donning head wraps and gorgeous gowns. But one picture in particular seems to be getting the most attention. In it Beyoncé wears dark face paint, transforming her fair-skinned complexion to a dark brown one. Whoa, right? How could she? …Okay, America. Chill out. Not every blackened face is blackface. There’s a fine line between artistry and mockery. And several things must be considered before thinking that Beyoncé, of all people, would be the one to spit in the face of her own culture.—Brad Wete, EW
1960 time article
1960, Time article

Japanese intellectuals, who can be pretty crazy themselves, have been quick to discover social significance in the dakkochan's black skin. Citing the growing popularity of Negro jazz. Artist Setsu Nagasawa argues that "a Negro culture wave seems to be sweeping Japanese youth." Novelist Tensei Kawano, who has featured Negroes in four books, asserts: "We of the younger generation are outcasts from politics and society. In a way we are like Negroes, who have a long record of oppression and misunderstanding, and we feel akin to them." The Softies. Toymaker Suda, who would like to know how to do it again, has also tried to get at the reason behind the fad by tape-recording interviews with hundreds of customers waiting to buy dakkochans. The replies are sociologically disappointing. Some teen-agers say they are buying a dakkochan because their friends have bought dakkochans. The vast majority, however, reply with one or another variant of "It's so cute and lovable that I just have to have one."

a raisin in the sun reading schedule
A Raisin in the SunReading Schedule
  • Due Friday, 3/18: Act I, scenes 1 & 2 (p75)
  • Due Monday, 3/21: Act II, scene i (p95)
  • Due Tuesday, 3/22: Act II, scene ii (p109)
  • Due Wednesday, 3/23: Act II, scene iii (130)
  • Due Thursday, 3/24: Act III (p151)
  • Friday, 3/25: Wrap-up discussion
Times article “Dakkochan”:


  • Blackface montage from Bamboozled: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C45g3YP7JOk
  • Ribena blackcurrant drink ad: