Thomas D. Rice

American minstrel performer (1808–1860) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Thomas Dartmouth Rice (May 20, 1808 September 19, 1860) was an American performer and playwright who performed in blackface and used African American vernacular speech, song and dance to become one of the most popular minstrel show entertainers of his time. He is considered the "father of American minstrelsy".[1][2] His act drew on aspects of African American culture and popularized them with a national, and later international, audience.

Quick facts: Thomas D. Rice, Born, Died, Occupation, Natio...
Thomas D. Rice
BornThomas Dartmouth Rice
(1808-05-20)May 20, 1808
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
DiedSeptember 19, 1860(1860-09-19) (aged 52)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
OccupationSinger, dancer, playwright
SpouseCharlotte Bridgett Gladstone (1837-1847)

Rice's "Jim Crow" character was based on a folk trickster of that name that was long popular among black slaves. Rice also adapted and popularized a traditional slave song called "Jump Jim Crow".[3] The name became used for the "Jim Crow laws" that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States between the 1870s and 1965.