The minstrel show, in which white performers blackened their faces and spoke in exaggerated African American vernacular, traded in stereotypes of blacks to entertain white audiences. Although no one is certain who first performed in blackface, Thomas D. Rice, professionally known as Daddy Rice, is credited as the father of American minstrelsy. Rice, an actor born on the lower east side of Manhattan, New York, created the popular Jim Crow character, namesake of a series of laws enforcing segregation in the South.
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