“Successful Beyond Expectation:” Blackface, Minstrelsy, and Racist Entertainment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

By Kacie Lucchini Butcher

The research in this blog post was completed as a part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Public History Project. The three-year project aims to reckon with the university’s history of racism, exclusion, and discrimination. The project will culminate in an exhibit in the fall of 2021, an interactive online website, and curricular tools. By sharing research before the opening of the exhibit, we hope to begin conversations about the history of UW–Madison and discuss how we can all work towards building a more equitable campus community. The nature of historical research is that it will always be incomplete. It is impossible for us to know everything that happened in the past. Therefore, the research in this post is imperfect, as all history is. Our researchers have completed the research below with all of the historical documents available to them at the time of publication. There will be alternative perspectives to those detailed below. We believe that the discussions that arise out of these differing perspectives are an integral part of the process of reckoning with our history. We welcome responses and discussion. Responses submitted by email will be posted in a response and discussion post within one week after the original publication date. Responses with vulgar or offensive language will not be posted.

Content Warning: The UW–Madison Public History Project blog aims to provide a space where our community can begin the difficult work of reckoning with our history. Some of the content and language in this blog post is offensive and disturbing. In this post, you will encounter descriptions of minstrel shows, racist performances, and Halloween costumes. Some of these descriptions use offensive terms and racial slurs. You will NOT encounter images of individuals in blackface or performing minstrelsy. These images and depictions are dehumanizing, harmful, and deeply racist. We believe that publishing, promoting, and sharing these images serves to further dehumanize and harm Black individuals in our campus community. We have provided links to images for individuals who would like to see them. If you click a link in this blog post, you will see images, cartoons, and depictions of people in blackface.

In 1909, a parade of UW–Madison students wove its way through downtown Madison to campus. In “grease and stovepipe hat,” with “darky costume and color,” carrying minstrel banners and American flags with a live bugle corps, the students sought to advertise and promote their upcoming minstrel show.[1] Promising to provide “the usual minstrel stunts, rage and coon songs, jokes, and buck-and-wig dancing,” the show “promised to be a success.”[2] The parade stopped outside of university President Van Hise’s home so he could address the students. He commended the students on their minstrel show, saying “I congratulate you on the success of this undertaking. It shows your versatility, and that is a quality all engineers should possess. To be able to adapt himself to all sorts of men and surroundings.”[3] The minstrel show that year was a success. So successful, in fact, that for the next century, blackface, minstrelsy, and racist entertainment would become a central part of campus culture.

The headline on the front page of the Daily Cardinal, which reads “Tonight’s The Night – Engineers’ Minstrel Show. Fuller Opera House, prices 25, 50, 75 and $1” dated March 24, 1909.
The headline on the front page of the Daily Cardinal, advertising the evening’s entertainment. Dated March 24, 1909. News clipping courtesy UW Archives.

The history of minstrelsy in the United States began in the early 19th century. Blackface performance originated in Northern cities, primarily on the East Coast, as early as 1830. The “Father of Minstrelsy,” Thomas Dartmouth Rice, created the most famous minstrel character, “Jim Crow,” a Southern slave character who rejoiced in his own enslavement.[4] Minstrel performances generally follow a formulaic set of three acts. The first act included a musical comedy parade that weaves the performers through the audience in an effort to get the audience to participate by stomping, clapping, and dancing. Once on stage, end men would play “bones” and “tambo,” tell classic minstrel jokes, or sing romanticized songs about southern heritage that included violent lyrics about slavery.[5] The second act featured a stump speech or a stand-up comedy act. Often these speeches were used to mock slavery abolitionists though later they were used to mock Black women by either by portraying Black women as oversexualized “wenches” or mammy figures as desexualized property of white men.[6] The third act was a short play or routine that provided political commentary on slavery, the South, or the relationship between freed Black people and white people.[7] The performances aimed to distort the features of Black people – their appearance, dress, language, behavior, and, insidiously, their culture – music, dance, religious beliefs, etc. At its height, blackface minstrelsy was the most popular form of entertainment in the United States, reaching hundreds of thousands of viewers annually.[8]

Although it is difficult to understand fully the motivations behind minstrelsy, it is clear that this form of entertainment from its earliest conceptions drew upon dehumanizing stereotypes and images of Black men and women. Rather than simply excusing the racist depictions of Black people as an entertainment form of a bygone era, it is important to understand the long-term implications of these stereotypes. Originally many scholars viewed minstrelsy as an act that allowed white people to borrow and capitalize on Black culture with the larger goal of controlling Black people. In his seminal book on minstrelsy, Eric Lott complicates this idea, arguing that blackface emerges out of a “racial desire” that allows white people to “try on” blackness.[9] As Lott and other scholars like David Roediger have shown, minstrelsy was often the only exposure white people had to Black culture.[10] Many performers and attendees mistakenly believed that by participating in minstrelsy, either actively in its creation or passively in its consumption, they were learning about Black culture. What Lott, Roediger, and other scholars make clear however is that participation, performance, and consumption of minstrelsy relied on racialized stereotypes that aimed to dehumanize and portray Black people as “others,” or apart from the larger, dominant, normative strands of American culture. This “othering” allowed white people to secure their own positive identity through the stigmatization and dehumanization of those that they deem(ed) “other.” Minstrelsy continuously repeated and entrenched this dehumanization into national and local culture at large.

While minstrelsy was originally performed by professional actors and musicians, by 1845 famous performers began to sell sheet music and how-to guides that encouraged amateur performers to create their own shows. Dr. Rhae Lynn Barnes, Assistant Professor of History at Princeton, argues that this shift from professionals to amateurs reshaped minstrelsy, making its audience of white men into active participants and creators, rather than passive consumers.[11] As this unfolded, minstrel show productions became easier and cheaper to create. They became the province of amateur troupes and special occasions rather than full-time professional actors, singers, and dancers. As the format of these shows easily accommodated local humor and culture, they spread across the United States from private theaters to elementary schools, college campuses, and community centers.

Minstrel shows became particularly popular on college campuses. Soon after amateur production became more accessible, college fraternities and student organizations began to host minstrel shows as a form of fundraising.[12] College aged men could easily write, produce, and perform minstrel shows, raising hefty profits with little overhead.[13] In turn, these profits could then be invested back into the campus community as contributions to capital projects such as building funds. Minstrel shows were increasingly considered a wholesome, and collegial group activity that forged bonds among young men. They were also considered patriotic, since they often used American flags and patriotic music.[14]

An advertisement reading “The Engineers’ Minstrels – Presented by students of the college of Engineering”.
An advertisement in the 1922 UW Yearbook, courtesy UW Archives.

UW–Madison’s men joined in as well. The most widely advertised, well attended, and financially successful minstrel shows on campus were the “Wisconsin Senior Engineers World Famous Minstrel Productions.” Beginning in 1903 and continuing until 1920, the senior class of engineers wrote, produced, and performed minstrel shows to sold out audiences full of students, faculty, and Madison community members. What started out as “decidedly amateurish” shows grew to be a complex run of multi-night performances that became so successful that the Wisconsin Alumni Association asked the seniors to travel and perform the show in Milwaukee at the Pabst Theater.[15] The performances, with little overhead and intense popularity, raised money that was invested back into the campus community; donations from the troupe helped to construct Memorial Union — $300 in 1909 and $650 in 1920, totaling about $12,000 in today’s dollars.[16]

Minstrel culture seeped into other facets of university life at UW–Madison as well. At the height of minstrel popularity on campus, a student organization called the Dixie Club, comprised entirely of Southern students, was formed in 1910 to highlight Southern music and culture. While seemingly a display of Southern pride, Dixie bands were formed decades after the Civil War to promote Confederate values and culture. They often romanticized the Civil War, promoting a Lost Cause narrative which claimed that the Civil War was fought over state’s rights and not the desire to keep slavery — a powerful myth. The Dixie Club went on to host minstrel shows, and Dixie music events attended by powerful people. Their luncheon in 1914 was attended by four United States governors including Francis E. McGovern of Wisconsin, Cole L. Blease of South Carolina, Luther E. Hall of Louisiana, and Emmet O’Neal of Alabama.[17] Their true intentions seem best embodied by their pages in the Badger Yearbook which display blackface caricatures and cartoons depicting Black men as subservient to wealthy, white men.[18] A 1916 UW–Madison Convocation featured Dixie music including the song “My Old Kentucky Home” — one of the most famous and widely popular minstrel songs ever written and performed.[19]

Hundreds of people are seated in the Red Gym watching a performance – onstage is a caterpillar made up of many students.
A large crowd watching a UW Circus performance in the Red Gym ca. 1920s. Photo courtesy UW Archives.

While the senior Engineers’ productions were the most popular minstrel shows, they were not the only form of racist entertainment on campus. Beginning in 1903 and continuing until 1916, UW–Madison students hosted a successful biannual circus. Student organizations, fraternities, and individuals were encouraged to submit proposals for “acts” to be performed under the big top that would give students the chance to earn ribbons and trophies.[20] They often hosted a parade in costume to advertise. Entries included a “thrilling” Wild West show complete with performers as cowboys and “Indians” on “New Mexican ranges”; a “hobo band” to give students a taste of “canvas classics”; an introduction to the “splendor of the Orient” with an appearance by the “Empress of the Nile” Cleopatra; and the Ku Klux Klan with a performance entitled “A Dark Horse.”[21] In 1909, the UW Circus invested the $800 profit back into the university as a donation to the Athletics department — an amount that is close to $20,000 today.[22]

The most popular and arguably most famous performing group at UW–Madison from the 1920s until the 1960s, the Haresfoot Club, also relied heavily on blackface as well as racialized and gendered stereotypes. Their shows, which featured white male students dressed as women, toured the United States garnering national attention. Their intensive initiation process and early performances show white students dressed as the Romani people (gypsies in the parlance of the time), Native Americans, enslaved Black people, Jewish people, and various ambiguous Asian and Middle Eastern individuals.[23]

Program cover featuring an illustration of a woman wearing Romani (gypsy in the parlance of the time) clothing and playing a tambourine.
A Union Vodvil Program from 1925, courtesy UW Archives.

Though much shorter lived, the Union Vodvil, hosted by the Men’s Union, was also a popular event. In reflections on the event from alumni in 1936 and 1947, they noted it was the “highlight of the campus year” as it attracted the best talent, including “campus stars” like Porter Butts.[24] It included minstrel shows and cowboy bands presented to “enthusiastic audiences.”[25] Other one-time events, like the UW Jamboree in 1921, boasted similar success with prizes awarded to students “brilliantly costumed” as “Indians, convicts, and hoboes.”[26] Even as minstrel shows were at their height at UW, students found ways to “other” many additional races, genders, and populations. From impoverished migrant workers, to people who had been imprisoned, to Indigenous peoples, to exoticized and often ambiguous races from across the globe — white students reinforced their positive identity in the stigmatization of others. Notably, during the period when these performances were popular, widely attended, and widely publicized on campus, the targets of this dehumanization, non-white people, were enrolled at UW. They faced this dehumanization at the hands of their classmates and peers in a campus community that promoted, financed, and reveled in these performances. Racist entertainment at UW was part of a broad matrix of performances and masquerades put on by white students for white students.

Dr. Rhae Lynn Barnes also notes that blackface, whether in minstrel shows or Halloween costumes, was often seen as acceptable, a “harmless form of play,” which is why it often got past yearbook editors, particularly before the Civil Rights Movement.[27] A flip through The Badger Yearbook reveals near continuous depictions of students dressed as Native Americans, Jewish people, or in blackface. If not explicitly displayed as photographs, the yearbooks contain an unbelievable number of cartoons and caricatures that mock, disparage, and dehumanize nearly every “racialized other” in the United States.

Even after minstrelsy began to fall out of fashion, relics of this period remained in popular culture. Some even remain today. As Barnes and other scholars have noted, common phrases in American culture such as “cake walk” and “that takes the cake,” as well as jokes like “why did the chicken cross the road?” all come from popular minstrel shows.[28] Even the beloved cartoon character Mickey Mouse was born out of minstrelsy.[29] Mickey Mouse’s first ever appearance as “Steamboat Willie” features Mickey depicted as a steamboat stevedore, presumably in the South, playing the tune we now call “Turkey in the Straw.” However, during the period, this melody was known as “Old Zip Coon” — a minstrel standard. Scholars have also noted that Mickey’s facial characteristics, the use of white gloves, and his “bodily plasticity” were all common characteristics of minstrel performance at the time.[30]

As minstrelsy began to fade as popular form of entertainment during the 1940s, blackface and other racialized depictions remained at UW–Madison. After the Civil Rights Movement, blackface became particularly taboo, at least publicly. However, as Dr. Rhae Lynn Barnes has documented, students on college campuses did not stop doing blackface. Instead, they worked to keep parties and events that featured blackface private.[31] At UW–Madison, racially themed parties were part of campus culture from at least the 1940s up until the late 1980s. In the 1940’s, Zeta Beta Tau held an annual Polynesian party which featured fraternity brothers in full body blackface wearing grass skirts and sipping drinks from coconuts.[32] In the 1950’s, Southern themed parties such as “Dixie Bashes” and “Southern Comfort” parties were commonplace.[33] Though scant descriptions of the parties exist, it is clear that they promoted the culture of the Confederacy. During the same period, fraternities also hosted “Cherokee Chug-a-lugs” and “Skid Row” parties.[34] In the late 1980’s UW–Madison featured repeatedly in national news headlines after a series of controversial parties. Beginning in 1986 with a “Martin Luther Coon” party, followed by a “Harlem Room” party featuring fried chicken and watermelon, then a “Fiji Islands” party advertised with a racist caricature, and ending with a slave auction party in 1988, the university became a central location for racist college parties.[35] Then-Chancellor Donna Shalala released a strong statement of condemnation calling the behavior “insensitive and irresponsible,” but she also admitted she was powerless to punish fraternities in any substantive way, claiming that their actions were protected under the First Amendment.[36]

While there is no known documented response from students of color regarding minstrel shows in the early 20th century at UW, from the inception of blackface, there have been staunch, vocal critics. In 1848 Frederick Douglass criticized blackface performers as “the filthy scum of white society, who have stolen from us a complexion denied to them by nature, in which to make money, and pander to the corrupt taste of their white fellow citizens.”[37] By the 1980s at UW–Madison, student, faculty, and alumni response to incidents of blackface were widely published. After the slave auction party in 1988, the Minority Coalition, a group of student activists, held a number of well-attended protests. At one protest on Langdon Avenue, Nat Turner, a Black student was quoted “There will be no tranquility for any student on this campus until people of color are treated with respect, receive true justice, and are compensated for the physical, mental, and emotional pain of racism.”[38] Faculty from the Law School penned an open letter to Shalala arguing against absolutist readings of the First Amendment and expressing concern over the harm caused by inaction on the part of the administration.[39] The first signee is Dr. Kimberlee Crenshaw, a nationally renowned critical race scholar, who was a visiting scholar at UW–Madison between 1988–1989. The Daily Cardinal even went to far as to publish a staff opinion in support of Black students stating “What is needed, as students of color themselves have pointed out, is for whites to recognize their inherent racism. This racism does not necessarily take the form of a slur or a lynching, but is often expressed in more subtle ways… Those interested in solving the problem must first confront its core: white culture, white history, and white people.”[40]

Under the false assumption that blackface and other racialized stereotypes are “harmless forms of play,” contemporary photos of white people in blackface, largely at Halloween or other themed parties, are widely available, at UW and elsewhere. Recent high-profile incidents of blackface, like that of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, were documented and came to light as a result of yearbook photos. Scholars, journalists, and community members were quick to point out that blackface photos in yearbooks spread far beyond Virginia, or even the South. Barnes has documented the unique type of costume modeled by Northam and seen almost exclusively in the North — college-aged men in blackface portraying Black people and the Klan. UW–Madison has multiple photos of this kind. In the case of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the conversation focused more clearly on forms of blackface and brownface that are viewed as costumes — a continuous problem on university campuses and American culture at large. As recently as 2010, UW–Madison students were photographed at the Madison’s annual Halloween festivities dressed as Native Americans in face paint and headdress.[41] In 2016, during a home football game between Wisconsin and Nebraska, two attendees put on a performance in costume: one wore a prison jumpsuit, a noose around his neck, and (alternately) masks of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; the other, holding the noose, wore a Donald Trump mask.[42] While much of the reporting of these incidents focused on the naivety of those in costume or their attempt to be provocative, local newspaper articles failed to highlight the severity of the situation and the ways that costumes of this nature perpetuate stereotypes and dehumanization.

What are we to make of a century of blackface, minstrelsy, and other forms of racist entertainment and costume at UW–Madison? It is important to note that dehumanization — whether through minstrelsy or other means — is both a tool of white supremacy and a product of its existence. Every act of dehumanization reinforces expectations of white supremacy and racial hierarchy in daily economic and social life. It is a constant reminder of who has power, who “belongs,” and who gets to set those parameters. Most clearly then, for UW, this history highlights the issue of representation and participation. The achievements and experiences of people of color at UW–Madison are not well represented — not in the popular stories and myths we tell ourselves, not in the archives, not in the statues and monuments around campus. Yet, people of color have been “represented” in the countless forms of blackface, minstrelsy, racist caricatures, and costumes depicted in the archives through newspapers, photos, and performance programs. This form of representation is not created by people of color, and it comes without their participation or consent. It is a voyeuristic “othering” that allows white people to continue to control the narrative about other people’s culture and community — both at UW–Madison and in the larger American culture. This form of representation is not authentic, meaningful, or informative. It is racist. It is harmful. And it advances and entrenches the worst aspects of this campus’s history, ideas, and attitudes — many of which linger on today.

This is history is compounded by the fact that students, faculty, and staff of color are consistently marginalized — or in many cases completely absent from — campus. In the fall of 2019, minority students made up only 17% of the student population. Only 2.03% identify as African American.[43] In 2018, faculty of color accounted for 22% of all faculty. Only 2.03% self-identified as Black.[44] Even accounting for a new surveying method launched in 2010 that allowed people to choose more than one race, Black faculty members who may have identified with multiple races still only account for a maximum of 4% of all faculty.[45] Students of color who are on campus voice continuous concerns about their wellbeing, safety, and participation in the institution. In the 2016 Campus Climate Survey, 80% of reported feeling safe, respected, and welcomed. However, only 69% of LGBTQ students, 67% of students with a disability, 65% of students of color, and 50% of trans/non-binary students said the same.[46] About 11% of students reported experiencing incidents of hostile, harassing, or intimidating behavior directed at them personally. Students of color (19%), LGBTQ students (21%), students with a disability (28%), and trans/non-binary students (33%) were more likely to report experiencing this behavior directed at them personally.[47] Not only then are people of color not authentically represented on campus in the archives and in the history of this institution, but they are underrepresented in our classrooms and boardrooms and continue to be marginalized and denied full participation in the institution.

It becomes clear then why this history matters. Just because minstrel shows do not continue on campus today does not mean that their effects do not linger here. The dehumanization continues through historical racist depictions in our archives and yearbooks; through Halloween costumes and themed parties; through an intentional misrepresentation and underrepresentation; through a lack of full, equal participation in our institution. If we can learn anything from this history, it should be that these “harmless forms of play,” are in fact, anything but harmless. Our actions and inactions will ripple out in ways we are not fully able to grasp and the impacts of our actions often vastly outweigh our intent. We can break this cycle of dehumanization, if we make it unacceptable and intolerable. We have the power on our campus and in our community to do that. The question is — will we?

The following response was provided by the Wisconsin Alumni Association:

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association would like to thank the Public History Project for their dedicated work to shine a light on untold stories of racism and exclusion in UW history.

The research shared by the Public History Project continues to show how much attitudes of bias were accepted and even promoted on campus. It is incredibly regretful that the Wisconsin Alumni Association participated in any way with these activities in the early years of the 20th Century.

WFAA is committed to fostering an inclusive environment among our alumni and friends and to supporting UW–Madison in efforts to create and sustain a positive campus climate. As part of that mission, we believe we should all be allies to staff, students, and alumni of color and actively work to make meaningful change to address systemic racism and acts of injustice.

The following response was provided by UW–Madison’s Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association student leaders:

We acknowledge the central role UW–Madison’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Association (PHA) played in perpetuating blackface and minstrel shows on campus throughout our history and the harmful effects they had on our community. These acts are not in line with our values. We know the impact lives on today, and we are committed that it will not be part of our future. We are finalizing details on our specific commitments to educate, discuss, and engage our members on racial inequities to ensure this harmful behavior never happens again in our communities.

Individuals are not often taught to think of themselves as sources of historical knowledge, but they are. Individuals hold intimate knowledge of their campus, their neighborhoods, and their communities. That is why we want to hear from you. We believe that this project will be the most successful when it deeply engages all of those in our community. If you have a story to share, an event you think should be researched, or a person you think has been overlooked, please contact us. publichistoryproject@wisc.edu

[1] “Van Hise Speaks to Engineers: Commends Success of Minstrel Show,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Mar. 24, 1909, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[2] “Minstrels Have Florodora Sextet,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Mar. 19, 1909, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[3] “Van Hise Speaks to Engineers: Commends Success of Minstrel Show,” 1909.

[4]Blackface: The Birth of An American Stereotype,” National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Smithsonian.

[5] Rhae Lynn Barnes, interviewed by Nathan Connolly, Backstory Radio, podcast audio, February 8, 2019.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Eric Lott, Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

[10] See David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (New York: Verso, 2007).

[11] See David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Barnes, Backstory Radio.

[14] Ibid.

[15] University of Wisconsin–Madison, The Badger (Madison, Wisconsin: 1904), 392, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives, http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/UW/UW-idx?type=header&id=UW.UWYearBk1904, November 21, 2019.; Advertisement, The Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Mar. 10 1914, University of Wisconsin Archives.

[16] Wilson Trueblood, “The Engineers Minstrels of 1920,” The Wisconsin Engineer, December 1920, 43–44.

[17] Dixie Club Governor’s Luncheon program, November 12, 1914. UW Memorabilia Collection 1913–1915; Series I 4/13; Box 7. University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[18] See the University of Wisconsin–Madison, The Badger Yearbook; 1911, pg. 452; 1914, pg. 503; 1915, pg. 530; 1916, pg. 527.

[19] UW–Madison 1916 Convocation program, March 17, 1916. UW Memorabilia Collection 1916; Series I 4/13; Box 8. University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[20] “Circus Draws Many Entries,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Apr. 25, 1920, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[21] “Wild West Show to Be Thriller,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Apr. 7, 1916.; “Tightrope Teasers Awe Audience at Circus,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Apr. 6, 1916.; “Circus Shows Cleopatra in Huge Pageant,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), May 19, 1920.; “Saw Dust Arena Packed with Thrills at “World’s Greatest Show” Yesterday,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), May 23, 1920. University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[22] “Circus Proceeds for Athletics,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Apr. 5, 1909, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[23] See various programs from 1914–1938, available in the UW Memorabilia Collection; Series I 4/13. University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[24] University of Wisconsin–Madison, The Badger Yearbook, (Madison, WI: Graduating Class of 1936), University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives, pg. 205. ; “Campus Traditions Flower and Fade,” Wisconsin Alumnus Magazine, February 1947, pg. 7.

[25] Ibid.

[26] “Riot of Fun for Big Crowd at the Jamboree,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI), Jan. 16, 1921, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[27] Barnes, Backstory Radio.

[28] Rhae Lynn Barnes Interviewed by Amy Goodman, “Historian: Americans Must Face Violent History of Blackface Amid Virginia Gov. Racist Photo Scandal” on Democracy Now! (February 4, 2019).

[29] Nicholas Sammond, Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation (Durham: Duke University Press, 2019).

[30] Gene Demby, host, interviews Nicholas Sammond “From Blackface to Blackfishing” National Public Radio Code Swtich (podcast), February 12, 2019, accessed January 16, 2018.

[31] Barnes, Backstory Radio.

[32] Zeta Beta Tau “Polynesian” party ca. 1940s.

[33] Angela Peterson, “Protest, Pity and Panty Raids: A Case Study of Moderate Resistance in University of Wisconsin–Madison Fraternities and Sororities, 1947–1962,” (undergraduate paper, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2019) page 14.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Barry Siegel, “fighting words: it seemed like a noble idea—regulating hateful language. but when the university of wisconsin tried, its good intentions collided with the first amendment,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA) March 28, 1993; Robert Gebeloff, “ZBT Accused: Pledge Auctions stirs controversy,” Daily Cardinal (Madison, WI) October 24, 1988, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[36] Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Donna Shalala, Statement to the Community on the ZBT Incident, November 14, 1988. University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[37] Frederick Douglass, The North Star (27 Oct. 1848).

[38] Jennie Anderson, “No Tranquility: Blacks rally; UW urged to punish ZBTs,” Daily Cardinal, October 27, 1988, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[39] Correspondence from minority faculty at the UW–Madison Law School to Chancellor Donna Shalala, 2 December 1988, Series 4/21/1 Box 6, Folder 16, Chancellors Records “ZBT 87–88”, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives, Madison, Wisconsin.

[40] Staff Opinion, “Confront racism: Whites must join struggle,” Daily Cardinal, November 1, 1988, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[41] R. Rainey, “Officials Call Freakfest A Success,” Badger Herald, November 1, 2010, University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives.

[42] Nico Savidge, “UW–Madison criticized for response to costume that depicted Obama in noose,” Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) November 1, 2016.

[43] Office of the Provost. 2019–2020 Data Digest. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin–Madison, March 2020. Accessed June 2020.

[44] Office of the Provost, Faculty and Staff Trends by Gender and Ethnic Status (annual reports to the Committee on Women). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin–Madison, August 2019. Accessed July 2020.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Campus Climate Survey Task Force, 2016 Campus Climate Survey Task Force Report. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin–Madison, Fall 2017. Accessed July 2020.

[47] Ibid.