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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Junior Choir Minstrels

The other day I was thumbing through some old editions of the Tuckerton Beacon and came across an article reporting on a Minstrel Show presented by the Junior Choir of the New Gretna Presbyterian Church. Many of the names will be familiar to our regular Blog readers.

Tuckerton Beacon - March 25, 1957

Minstrel Program Header

Following are two photos from the March 20, 1957 minstrel show.

Recognize anyone on stage? Note: The school stage no longer exists. It has been remodeled into the Principal's office.

Know anyone in the audience, or who is playing the piano?

Phyllis Briggs wrote an interesting article on the "New Gretna PTA Minstrels" in the 1960's and early 1970's. By that time the use of black face had been abandoned. You may read her article in the July-December, 2004 edition (Issue #17) of the Bass River Gazette by clicking on the link below:

Pete S

PS- While I realize that the subject of Minstrel Shows is politically incorrect and often avoided, today, due to the use of black face makeup and unflattering racial stereotypes, we must recognize that they are a part of our history. That certainly is true of New Gretna history. As such, I believe that the presentation and discussion of New Gretna Minstrel Shows is appropriate for a History Blog. I will leave the discussion of their appropriateness to Social Consciousness Blogs.


  1. Hi Pete: In the link to the Dec 2004 Gazette, the article about Chalkey Cramer caught my attention. Was the name Chalkey a common one back then? I ask because my Great-Aunt Prudence Adams married a (Thomas) Chalkey Leeds. Just wondering if there was any connection.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

  2. Beverley,

    Chalkley was not a real common name, but it was a first name used by different families. Other than Chalkley Cramer, Chalkley Sears comes to mind. I don't think the name Chalkley would indicate a connection between Chalkley Cramer and Chalkley Leeds.

    Pete S