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Thomas  Rice - Minstrel Dancer in Jump Jim Crow and Juba Dance

Stage Name

Birth Name

Daddy Jim Crow

Thomas Dartmouth Rice

     Traveling Minstrels have been around along time, they were basically traveling performers of the old Gypsy type we think today. The minstrel show was to come around much later and was one of the first inherent forms of Ante-bellum American Stage entertainment. The Minstrel shows first began around February 1843 when a group of four white men from Virginia, calling themselves the "Virginia Minstrels," who applied black cork to their faces and performed a song-and-dance act in a small hall in New York City.

     Thomas Dartmouth Rice is considered to be the first white minstrel man in 'Black face' ( Makeup) with his rendition of an old crippled Cincinnati African-American by the name of Jim Crow who sang what was called a 'Negro Ditty' and shuffled his feet to the ditty "Weel about and turn about and do jis so, Eb'ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow." Rice's characterization of this Negro ditty and dance routine in 1828 was an immediate success which took him touring all around the country and abroad. This was to be the origin of the famous 'Jump Jim Crow' song.   

     Rice first introduced this dance at the Southern Theater in Louisville Kentucky and also performed this song and dance number to audiences in Pittsburgh. Other famous songs followed such as 'Zip Coon' ( Turkey In The Straw.) The Truckin' dance is is believed to be related to the Jump Jim Crow dance that Rice had performed. The Warner Brothers Film short called Minstrel Days (1940) features the story of "Jump Jim Crow" with Willie Best, Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson.

Jim Crow meaning:
     In 1883, The U.S. Supreme Court began to strike down the foundations of the post-Civil War Reconstruction, declaring the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional. The Court also ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited state governments from discriminating against people because of race but did not restrict private organizations or individuals from doing so. Thus railroads, hotels, Theaters, and the like could legally practice segregation... These historic "Jim Crow laws" were a response to the new reality that required white supremacy to move to where it would have a legal basis to retain control over the black population. Unfortunately, What was started as the Governments commitment to equality but rather 'white supremacy' and the things necessary to preserve it. By 1899 the Court would rule Schools could be segregated and by 1914 every Southern state had passed laws that created two separate societies; one black, the other white. These Jim crow laws would last up until 1954 with what is known as the "Civil Rights Movement" which began the end of the Jim Crow Laws.

     In 1857 the Morris Brothers’ Minstrels where created. It was with this troupe that Fred Wilson introduced the clog dance for the first time with a minstrel troupe that same year, ( Also Dick Sands, Tim Hayes, Dick Carroll and Ben Goldsmith introduced the clog dance with the minstrel troupes, as well.) This proved to be a death blow for the Jig champions domination in Minstrel show's.

Good Book on Rice and other Minstrels 1994 - Darktown Strutters

Birth Place

Birth Date



New York 5/20/1808 - 9/19/1861 n/a n/a

Dance Types


Music Titles

Jig Ira Aldridge 1829 - Jump Jim Crow
Juba Dance Jim Dandy 1833 - Clare de Kitchin
Jump Jim Crow ( The Crow) Joseph Jefferson 1830 - Opossum up a Gum Tree
Turkey In The Straw Zip Coon The Peacock
Truckin'       $1998 - The Early Minstrel Show
            $1994 - Minstrel Banjo Style

Night Clubs



Dew Drop Inn American Theater (1833) Paradise Square (NY) 1840s
            Uncle Tom's Cabin (1854)
            Virginia Minstrels (1843)




1940 - Minstrel Days n/a 9/15/1937 - New York Times
            $ Inside the Minstrel Mask
            $1977 - Blacking Up
            $2000 - History of the Minstrel
            $2000 - More Minstrel Banjo
            $ Minstrel, People of the Middle Ages
            $1991 - Minstrel Boy
            $1998 - Behind the Burnt Cork Mask
            $ Raising Cain from Minstrel to Hip hop
            $ Men In Blackface ... True Stories of
            $1994 - Darktown Strutters
            New York Clipper Articles (4/8/1860) ( Link)
            New York Clipper Articles (12/19/1914) ( Same Link)
            New York Clipper Articles (August 1, 8, 15, 1874.) (same Link)

NOTE: More Photos