STRECKERmemo Junior Member Joined: Aug 24, 2017 Messages: 705 Likes Received: 440 Jan 13, 2021 #21 Texasmonthly.com: "The two students decided to tweak the lyrics to more explicitly pay homage to Prather’s catchphrase. Johnson suggested that they set the lyrics to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” and they eyed an annual campus minstrel show on May 12, 1903, as the right time to debut it, since there would be a large audience, including President Prather. These minstrel shows, which went on until the sixties, were fund-raisers organized by students and featured white performers singing and dancing in blackface." The portrayal of blackface–when people darken their skin with shoe polish, greasepaint or burnt cork and paint on enlarged lips and other exaggerated features, is steeped in centuries of racism. It peaked in popularity during an era in the United States when demands for civil rights by recently emancipated slaves triggered racial hostility. And today, because of blackface’s historic use to denigrate people of African descent, its continued use is still considered racist. “It’s an assertion of power and control,” says David Leonard , a professor of comparative ethnic studies and American studies at Washington State University. “It allows a society to routinely and historically imagine African Americans as not fully human. It serves to rationalize violence and Jim Crow segregation...As society modernized, so did the ways in which blackface was portrayed. Not only was blackface in theaters, but it moved to the film industry. In the blockbuster movie The Birth of a Nation, blackface characters were seen as unscrupulous and rapists. The stereotypes were so powerful they became a recruiting tool for the Ku Klu Klan. African Americans protested the film’s portrayals and its distorted take on the post-Civil War era, yet it continued to be popular among white audiences (Clark, 2019). TrojanFireHorse12 likes this.