“Successful beyond expectation:” blackface, minstrelsy, and racist entertainment at UW–Madison

Student Melvin Pierce is featured in full blackface costume to advertise for the upcoming Engineers’ Minstrel Show. Advertisements of this nature were common to promote upcoming minstrel shows, drum up enthusiasm, and sell advanced tickets. Daily Cardinal, November 11, 1920, Courtesy of UW Archives

Newspaper advertisement for Engineers’ Minstrel Show depicting a student in blackface. The Daily Cardinal, November 11, 1920. The ad reads: Has Bones Role in Minstrel Show. Melvin Bones. Melvin Pierce, in the role of Bones, is one of the two principal end men in the Engineers minstrel show. He transferred from the College of Letter and Science to the College of Engineering in his senior year.

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