Week 5 Update

This week I’ve been wrapping up my secondary research. The largest challenge I face when formulating my final essay will be providing a concise yet comprehensive history of blackface in America. The history of minstrelsy in America is complex, and it is important that I examine every facet of minstrelsy’s past and legacy in order to provide proper context for my primary evidence. From the sources I’ve examined, I’ve seen how different factions of society produced and consumed minstrelsy with diverse goals and intentions. The authors of these sources also examine the legacies created by minstrelsy and how different groups over time have interpreted the practice.

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Diving Into William and Mary’s Past: Research Update 1

Finding a Method 

In this past week, I began searching through the Colonial Echo yearbooks for examples of racism, racial insensitivity, or offensive traditions. I am extremely grateful that members of the special collections team at Swem library put in countless hours of work scanning yearbooks to make them available in the digital archives. After searching for a few keywords in the yearbooks and newspapers in an unorganized manner, I decided the best method would be to scan through each publication in a chronological order. As I search through each publication I’ve been keeping a track of locations of offensive images or language. This week, I began looking through yearbooks. Unfortunately,¬† I have found some examples of racist language and offensive African-American and Native-American caricatures. I even discovered a group of students who performed minstrel shows in blackface at William and Mary.

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