Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jump Jim Crow
Jump Jim Crow is a song and dance from 1828 done in blackface by white comedian Thomas D. Rice. The number was supposedly inspired by the song and dance of a crippled African American in Cincinnati called "Jim Crow". The song became a great 19th century hit and Rice performed all over the country as Daddy Jim Crow. The tune was one of the first major examples of African-American influence in popular music in the United States.
The tune became very well known not only in the United States but internationally; in 1841 the USA ambassador to Central America, John Lloyd Stephens, wrote that upon his arrival in Merida, Yucatan the local brass band played "Jump Jim Crow" under the mistaken impression that it was the USA's national anthem.
With time Jim Crow became a term often used to refer to African Americans, and from this the laws of racial segregation became known as Jim Crow laws.
The expression to jump Jim Crow came to mean "to act like a stereotyped stage caricature of a Negro". See Uncle Tom.
Here are the lyrics, from the band the Bluegrass Messengers, which has the song in its repetoire:
Come, listen, all you gals and boys, I'm just from Tuckyhoe;
I'm gwine to sing a little song, My name's Jim Crow.
Chorus: Wheel about, an' turn about, an' do jis so;
Eb'ry time I wheel about, I jump Jim Crow.
I went down to de river, I didn't mean to stay,
But there I see so many gals, I couldn't get away.
I'm rorer on de fiddle, an' down in ole Virginny,
Dey say I play de skientific, like massa Pagganninny.
I cut so many munky shines, I dance de galloppade;
An' w'en I done, I res' my head, on shubble, hoe or spade.
I met Miss Dina Scrub one day, I gib her sich a buss;
An' den she turn an' slap my face, an' make a mighty fuss.
De udder gals dey 'gin to fight, I tel'd dem wait a bit;
I'd hab dem all, jis one by one, as I tourt fit.
I wip de lion ob de west, I eat de alligator;
I put more water in my mouf, den boil ten load ob 'tator.
De way dey bake de hoe cake, Virginny nebber tire;
Dey put de doe upon de foot, an' stick 'em in de fire.
Or, with a more conventional english translation:
Come, listen, all you girls and boys, I'm just from Tuckyhoe;
I'm going to sing a little song, My name's Jim Crow.
Chorus: Wheel about, and turn about, and do just so;
Every time I wheel about, I jump Jim Crow.
I went down to the river, I didn't mean to stay,
But there I saw so many girls, I couldn't get away.
I'm (rorer)? on the fiddle, and down in old Virgina,
They say I play the scientific, like master Pagganninny (Niccolò Paganini - 19th century violin master).
I cut so many monkey shines, I dance the (galloppade)?;
And when I'm done, I rest my head, on shovel, hoe or spade.
I met Miss Dina Scrub one day, I give her such a buss(kiss);
And then she turn and slap my face, and make a mighty fuss.
The other gals are going to fight, I told them wait a bit;
I'd have them all, just one by one, as I thought fit.
I whip the lion of the west, I eat the alligator;
I put more water in my mouth, then boil ten loads of potato.
The way they bake the hoe cake(corn bread cooked on open fire on metal implement such as a hoe), Virginia never tire;
They put the dough upon the foot, and stick them in the fire.
- lyrics and background from the Bluegrass Messengers.
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