The Racist History and Role of Blackface in America

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Protestors rally against Virginia Governor Ralph Northam outside of the governors mansion in downtown Richmond, Virginia on February 4, 2019. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday admitted that he wore blackface while he was in college at a party in the 1980s. This comes amid increased calls for the resignation of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam over his admission that he wore blackface in the 1980s while dressed up as Michael Jackson. Northam has also been accused of appearing in a photo featuring a person in blackface and another in a KKK robe. Forum talks about the history blackface and its role in dehumanizing and disenfranchising African Americans.


Mark Anthony Neal, professor of African & African American Studies and English, Duke University

Dwandalyn Reece, curator of music and performing arts, National Museum of African American History and Culture