Early White Audience Reactions to Blackface Performances on Halifax stages (1830s-1860s)

Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Central Library (BMO Room) and via Zoom

Nicole Neatby: Professor, History Department, Saint Mary’s University

Abstract: Reviews in Halifax  newspapers  reveal that blackface performances  provoked mixed reactions between the late 1830s when they first appeared and the 1860s. While these shows were clearly popular from the outset among many Haligonians, those who published reviews were highly critical in the early decades.  However, it didn’t take long for reviewers’ assessments to evolve.  By the 1860s, the derision had subsided and  blackface shows gained favour as a form of  acceptable mainstream entertainment. This lecture will explore the reasons behind this shift and to what extent these reactions can offer some insights into  white Haligonians’ attitudes towards race and class.

Click here for a bio of Nicole Neatby

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