In Old Kentucky
This Litt and Dingwall dramatic production, from the early 1890s, included an almost entirely white cast; it told a story that revolved around Kentucky hillbillies. The African Americans of the cast were the children who played in the Pickaninny Band; their acting, playing, dancing, and comic antics were meant to exemplify the fun life of African Americans in Kentucky. Initially, there was to be a colored band of men in the production who were to go by the name of Woodlawn Whangdoodles. Instead, a street band of boys from Indianapolis, IN, made up the African American members of the production. When the boys got to be too old or too tall, younger and smaller boys from Indianapolis replaced them. The show became a hit; the band and pickaninny brass bands in general were in demand throughout the United States. For more see Out of Sight: the Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895, by L. Abbott and D. Seroff. See photos of scenes from In Old Kentucky at the University of Washington Libraries' Digital Collections.