The Long, Sordid History of Blackface

CNN’s John Avlon breaks down the history of blackface after a number of recent political controversies, but it’s not just Virginia politicians. Prominent people in the worlds of politics and entertainment have gotten into hot water for wearing blackface long before Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring recently admitted to it. Blackface dates back nearly 200 years, when white performers started darkening their faces with polish and cork to mock enslaved Africans in minstrel shows. These displays depicted black people as lazy, ignorant, cowardly or hypersexual. It was racist and offensive then and still is today. Here’s a (growing) list of politicians and celebrities who’ve gotten in trouble over blackface. (Note: We’re not including regular people — and there have been plenty of those cases.)



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