07:35 – There was an article on page two of the paper this morning about using blackface in Halloween costumes. There was, of course, a shot of Al Jolson wearing blackface in The Jazz Singer.
Just to set the record straight… Although Al Jolson is invariably portrayed nowadays as a vicious racist, that couldn’t be further from the truth. From the 1910’s until his death, Jolson was at the forefront in the struggle against bigotry and racism. He was a hero to American blacks and did more than anyone to help break down the barriers that kept blacks out of Hollywood and mainstream music. Jolson was a hero in the struggle for racial equality, and that’s how he should be remembered.