Coon Tunes

"Coon" is a derogatory term referring to black people and principally used in the minstrel shows of the 19th century. The so-called coon songs cruelly mocked black language, attitudes and manners. Titles such as "All Coons Look Alike to Me,"

Ernest Hogan

by Ernest Hogan were typical. But note Hogan allegedly didn't regard the term to be derogatory...yeah right!
( By the way, Ernest Hogan's first big hit was the first of a new genre of music, which he coined "ragtime" in 1895. He grew up in the Shake RAG District of Bowling Green, Kentucky..hence the name.)
The so called "Jim Crow" laws and customs rested upon the racist characterization of black people as ..

..culturally, personally, and biologically inferior.

The term Jim Crow started
in 1830 when a white performer blacked up and danced a jig singing "Jump Jim Crow."

The song became an immediate hit and was widely distributed, becoming one of the first large distribution sheet music songs in America. Other performers began to impersonate Blacks and soon, entire troupes of performers did, beginning with the Virginia Minstrels in 1843.
In 1865 The Thirteenth Amendment marked the abolition of slavery in the USA at the end of the American Civil War. Slavery might have been outlawed but the Whites' behaviour to coloured people continued to be disgraceful and not just in the South. Over 600 coon songs were published between 1886 and 1900 and some were written/performed by blacks ..could they have earned a buck otherwise?
This is the British version of the sheet music...which announces that the celebrated nigger song received unbounded shouts of applause at the Royal Surrey let's not us Brits get smug!!

To their shame it was still accepted by Whites that blackness was synonymous with silliness, deprivation, and ignorance.

Most believed that all Africans and their descendants were racially inferior to whites.
Black people had been portrayed as inferior almost from the time of their enslavement in the colonies in the 1620s.
This had enabled whites to justify slavery In America using racial stereotypes to justify the enslavement

of blacks was especially pronounced after 1830 as
white Southerners defended slavery against northern abolitionists.
This historic view of blacks became deeply

embedded in popular culture. By 1900 the image of silly and exaggerated black men and women in comic routines was the mainstay of musical acts, songs, and skits.

Representations of blacks with ink-black skin, large thick red lips, and bulging eyeballs appeared almost everywhere in the public arena.

Graphic artists prospered by drawing such images to sell products and to illustrate show bills sheet music and magazines.

There are so many of these coon songs that there was obviously a despicable band wagon which was being jumped on by composers who might not, otherwise have held these views

Indeed would not the song writers of NY's Tin Pan Alley have been of the ilk of the Northern Abolitionists who fought a Civil War over the ill-treatment of blacks?

It amazes me that there was not some sort of public opinion backlash. This was, afterall, still going on well into the 20th century