In the 1800s and early 1900s, minstrel shows enthralled the American public. They were the first uniquely American form of theatre, though they weren't without controversy. Minstrel shows featured performers in blackface, and they typically lampooned Americans of African descent. With three acts (the first focused on jokes and songs, the second on short entertainment routines, and the third a skit or short play), minstrel shows captivated audiences throughout the nation. As minstrel troupes traveled the nation, they advertised their arrival with posters and memorabilia. These posters are timeless pieces of Americana. Their bold colors and strong imagery reveal everyday life in the early United States -- an age when blacks had not yet won victories against racism.

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