"Mammy" by Al Jolson, in Blackface

The first talking picture ever made was 1927's "The Jazz Singer." For this historic event, the producers chose a film in which Al Jolsen appeared in his familiar racist and Black-demeaning role as a blackface buffoon from the old Minstrel Show days singing "Mammy." Minstrel Shows, in which white entertainers used burnt cork to black up their faces, told nigger jokes, and sang parodies of African-American slavery-time songs, was the first national entertainment form in American life.

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