They wore woolly wigs on their heads, gloves for their hands and painted their lips in exaggeration. They also made use of either tail – coats or ragged clothes to highlight their totally transformed looks. Much later on, actual black artists took to the same art.
Blackface minstrelsy played a very important and significant role in promoting racism worldwide through their racist perceptions and attitudes towards it. The greatest impact of Blackface on the community was “the precedent it established in the introduction of African American culture to an international audience, albeit through a distorted lens.” (Lott 1993, Watkins 1999) From a National level point of view, minstrelsy was the most popular form of art which was used to express themselves.
There are multiple differences of opinions between scholars as to the authenticity leading to the social and cultural creations related to the Blackface practice. In this capacity, historian Robert Toll develops a perspective that reflects a relative ambivalence toward the institution of slavery in the North prior to the Civil War. The historian Eric Lott complicates the issue further by suggesting that Blackface minstrelsy were motivated by both “love and theft” of black culture.
According to popular culture the North was regarded as being abolitionist and a champion of social justice during the Civil War. but contrary to this fact as demonstrated through the popularity of Blackface minstrel shows, there was clear evidence of the element of inferiority associated with individuals of African descent. What the Blackface minstrelsy shows reflected was the perceived unsophisticated nature of the entire African race compared to their European counterparts. the practice emphasized blacks falling short of white standards (67).