minstrel

A high school in Chicago is seeking to raise awareness and tolerance about race in a very interesting way. West Chicago High School’s Glee Club will hold a “Charity Minstrel Show” on Dec. 21. 

According to the show’s press releases, “On the 83rd anniversary of a West Chicago Charity Minstrel Show, the high school’s Glee Club will perform a twoact program of songs, dances, and skits performed in blackface and featuring the popular songs, “Old Man River”, “Get Away From Dis Co’nfiel'”, “Old Aunt Jemima”, and many others. The program is an exact revival of one performed in 1930 by the school’s Glee Club, and it features 26 songs, five dances, and accompaniment by an eight piece orchestra.”

During the early 20th century, overtly racist programs like minstrel acts thrived in the both the north an south, particularly in communities like West Chicago. By recreating the performance, students hope to start a dialogue about racial representation and stereotypes.

The program follows student participation in an education partnership with the West Chicago City Museum. All proceeds from the performance will be donated to the school’s Multicultural Sensitivity Club.

Thoughts on the program?

Is it an appropriate way to foster conversation about race and stereotypes?

Sound off below!

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