A Tale of Two Clowns: The Black Minstrel, the Frontier Jester, and the Making of the White Common Man

In the spring of 1815, a few months after the treaty of Ghent had finalized the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain, a suggestive comical song circulated in American newspapers about the Battle of New Orleans. Using the emerging genre of black dialect minstrel songs, it related the events of the recent battle from the alleged the perspective of a runaway slave who joined the British side and partook in ensuing events. The first stanza related the slave’s journey from Africa to Virginia and finally to the British side during the war: When me leetle boy, den Read more

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