BLACKFACE – A presentation by Dick Ford

February 25, 2016 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Blackface music


Long before TV, LPs and CDs  the promotion of songs was through sheet music, theatre, radio, and the 78 recordings played on a Victrola.  Millions of families owned as piano and someone played church hymns and/or  popular songs.  Race-themed songs were popular and profitable for composers, lyricists, artists, and music publishers. Verses and cover art caricatures projected African-American men and women as ignorant, lazy, lustful or, in contrast, as mellow citizens basking in the South (Dixieland). Words commonly used in race songs are: coons, darkies, wench, pickaninny, mammy. cakewalk,and rag.

Dick Ford by Michelle Gabel

Photo Michelle Gabel

Musician and head of Signature Music in Syracuse, Dick Ford, will lead a discussion, play songs ranging from the civil war era to the” roaring 20s” and display over 100 images from sheet music which helped popularize racism in our culture. Dick has  played jazz and dance music since the 1950s. He has received awards for his contributions in music education, community leadership, and social justice.

Free to the Public