Jim Crow Society and Culture
During the Jim Crow Era, Blacks were considered second class citizens and were treated with disadvantages because of their skin color.
Minstrel Shows evolved from a bunch of different American entertainment traditions, like the traveling circus, medicine shows, Irish dance and music with African syncopated rhythms, musical halls and traveling theatre.
In 1842, songwriter Daniel Decatur Emmett and three friends made a program of singing and dancing in blackface to the use of bone castanets, fiddle, banjo, and tambourine. They were called the Virginia Minstrels and they made their first public appearance in February 1843 in a New York City theater.
In 1844, a blackface minstrel troupe called the Ethiopian Serenaders actually played at the White House for the Amusement of the President of the United States, His Family and Friends.
The minstrel shows had three different parts: In the first part, the show began with a walkaround -- the company marching onto the stage singing and dancing. Then the actors were seated in a semicircle, with one member on each end playing the tambourine or the bones. They tell each other jokes between the group's songs and dances.
Part 2 included singers, dancers, comedians, and other novelty acts, and parodies of legitimate theater. Part three ended the show with a one-act play, typically a vignette of carefree life on the plantation.
That was a basic format of a minstrel show during the Jim Crow time.