Jump Jim Crow

American song about Jim Crow / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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"Jump Jim Crow", often shorted to just "Jim Crow", is a song and dance from 1828 that was done in blackface by white minstrel performer Thomas Dartmouth (T. D.) "Daddy" Rice. The song is speculated to have been taken from Jim Crow (sometimes called Jim Cuff or Uncle Joe), a physically disabled enslaved African-American, who is variously claimed to have lived in St. Louis, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh.[1][2] The song became a 19th-century hit and Rice performed it all over the United States as "Daddy Pops Jim Crow".

Quick facts: "Jump Jim Crow", Song, Written, Published, Ge...
"Jump Jim Crow"
Cover to an early edition of "Jump Jim Crow" sheet music (c 1832)
Cover to an early edition sheet music by Thomas. D Rice, pictured here performing in black face at the Bowery Theatre, Manhattan, illustration by Edward Williams Clay, c.1832
GenreMinstrel song, folk song, song and dance song
Songwriter(s)Thomas D. Rice

"Jump Jim Crow" was a key initial step in a tradition of popular music in the United States that was based on the racist "imitation" of black people. The first song sheet edition appeared in the early 1830s, published by E. Riley. A couple of decades saw the mockery genre explode in popularity with the rise of the minstrel show.

"Abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic seized upon this new format, including burnt-cork blackface, to promote the end of slavery."[3]

As originally printed, the song contained "floating verses", which appear in altered forms in other popular folk songs. The chorus of the song is closely related to the traditional Uncle Joe / Hop High Ladies; some folklorists consider "Jim Crow" and "Uncle Joe" to be a single, continuous family of songs.[4]

As a result of Rice's fame, the term Jim Crow had become a pejorative term for African Americans by 1838,[5] and from this time onward, the laws of racial segregation became known as Jim Crow laws.