Although blackface minstrelsy was racist, did it have any benefit for African Americans?
On stage you had white performers saying, "Okay, we accept this type of music, we accept the antic performers," and even though it was done in a ridiculing manner, there was some acceptance -- at least on stage. And by the 1860s black performers [were] going on the stage themselves and performing in a similar manner. Because basically when the black performers did minstrel shows, they were doing the same acts that whites had done before. It was necessary for them -- it was necessary for them to do that to be on stage. Otherwise, they would not have been allowed there. Gradually, they would change it, they would make modifications.
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