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Birth of a Notion; Or, The Half Ain't Never Been Told

A Narrative Account with Entertaining Passages of the State of Minstrelsy & of America & the True Relation Thereof

as Written by Bill Harris

Publication Year: 2010

A critical look at black identity in American history and popular culture as told from a performative African American perspective.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xii

Minstrelsy was the first pop culture entertainment phenomenon in young nineteenth-century America. It was mostly immigrant males hoping that, by performing amusing but racist portrayals of African Americans, they would throw off the stereotypical notions regarding stereotyped impersonations have served as the template for American ...

Introduction: In the Beginning

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pp. 1-2

Chapter 1. Treats of the Parallel Rise of the Industrial Revolution, the Blues, Radical Abolitionism & Mechanical & Martial Time

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pp. 3-8

Chapter 2. Treats on the Parallel Rise of Radical Abolitionism, American-Born Blackface, Immigrant Upper-Lower & Lower-Middle Classes, and Their Indoctrination in the Ways of American Life & Free-Time & How to Spend It

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pp. 9-17

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Chapter 3. A Brief Passage on the Emergence of the Democratic Party, Daddy Rice, Uncle Sam, Indians & “Discovery,” 1832

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pp. 18-36

Make a note. Just about now, 1832, the Democratic Party invents itself; Samuel F. B. Morse begins work on an electric telegraph; the Supreme Court grants the U.S. exclusive rule over all Indians & their lands; “A-merica,” the patriotic anthem, Umph... Umph, is written to the tune of “

Chapter 4. Treats of Minstrels and Minstrelsy, Invention of the Common Man, the Jacksonian Era, and Indians Conceding Their Lands

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pp. 37-40

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Chapter 5. The Middle Passage: P. T. Barnum, History as Entertainment in Multi Voices, 1835–1842

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pp. 41-93

But back to the 1830s: ’35, specifically, nearing the end of the Jacksonian era. The aforementioned abolitionist Garrison at the end of a pro-slavery mob’s rope, is dragged, half naked, over Boston cobblestones. A pattern emerges: abolitionists scold, theorize, act. Entertain. That same year, 1835, the U.S. cedes the Florida ...

Chapter 6. A Middle Passage, or Bridge: Traversed by Frederick Douglass, William Henry Lane, and a Sense of the Increased Speed of Things, 1843–1848

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pp. 94-105

Chapter 7. Daddy Rice Runs the Doo Doo Down: Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown Turn Up the Heat, 1848–1870

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pp. 106-118

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Chapter 8. The Civil War & Beyond Back to Where We Began: And Notions of High & Low Culture; Dividing to Conquer, 186?–1871

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pp. 119-130

Buddy Bolden is born. He will lose his mind after picking up the cornet during the bloom of the post-war brass band craze, but not { Birth of a Notion: Or, The Half Ain’t Never Been Told } 121 in the morning sunshine and picking the beautiful flowers of her fantasy.”(Irish immigrant. Voice of New York’s Bowery Boys, a.k.a. B’Hoys)...

Chapter 9. Reprise of the Bridge Crossing Theme: A Variation with a Blues Tinge

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pp. 131-134

Chapter 10. Reconstruction & Beyond: William T. Sherman, Eadweard Muybridge & Syncopated Loco-Motion of Moving Images & the Transcontinental Railroad, 1871–1877

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pp. 135-141

Chapter 11. Jim Crow Crosses Over from Entertainment to Law, the Parallel Rise of Klan-Whiteface in White Face & Black Faced Blackface & Slave Spirituals

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pp. 142-151

Chapter 12. W. E. B. Du Bois & Booker T. Washington Step Up & Step Out & Black Minstrelsy Turns a Corner, P. T. Barnum Crosses A Bridge, Rag Kicks Up Its Heels & Thomas Jefferson Shows His Dark Side, 1880s–1890s

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pp. 152-158

Chapter 13. Entering the White City: Shunted to the Shadowy Margins, but Tapping Out a Syncopated Meter, a New Tune, Whose Force Changed the Way the White City Denizens Go About Their Goings About & the Freedom & Dignity with Which They Go About It & the

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pp. 159-176

Chapter 14. The Buffalo Bill Show’s Rough Ride Across the Bridge from Old History to New Myths, Featuring Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, Queen Victoria & Walt Whitman

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pp. 177-185

Chapter 15. The Long March of Change Continues: Vaudeville Arrives, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois & the Blues (at Their Beginning) Return & Rag’s Infection Rages, as We Consider Voodoo, Thermodynamics & Continue to Hear Dead People & Living Spiri

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pp. 186-215

Illustration Credits

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pp. 216-218

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335277
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814334089

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 45
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a

OCLC Number: 755620431
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Birth of a Notion; Or, The Half Ain't Never Been Told

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Race relations -- History -- Poetry.
  • African Americans -- Poetry.
  • Minstrel music.
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