I will be interviewing Tim Brooks, the author of The Black Face Minstrel Show in Mass Media.
The minstrel show occupies a complex and controversial space in the history of American popular culture. Today considered a shameful relic of America's racist past, it nonetheless offered many black performers of the 19th and early 20th centuries their only opportunity to succeed in a white-dominated entertainment world, where white performers in blackface had by the 1830s established minstrelsy as an enduringly popular national art form.
This book traces the often overlooked history of the "modern" minstrel show through the advent of 20th century mass media--when stars like Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Mickey Rooney continued a long tradition of affecting black music, dance and theatrical styles for mainly white audiences--to its abrupt end in the 1950s. A companion two-CD reissue of recordings discussed in the book is available from Archeophone Records at archeophone.com.