Blackface!

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John D. Lee Jr. 1898-1965
"Johnny Lee"
"John Dotson Lee Jr."

John D. Lee Jr. 1898-1965 

 

John D. Lee Jr. aka "Johnnie Lee" began in show business as a dancer.

Johnny did the voice of Br'er Rabbit in the Walt Disney film Song of the South (1946).  He had featured roles in Come On, Cowboy! (1948) and She's Too Mean for Me (1948). Johnny Lee played a stuttering bill collector in the 1948 film, Boarding House Blues.

Johnny Lee made a record that was released in July 1949 called "You Can't Lose A Broken Heart". He is credited as "Johnnie Lee" and the backup vocals were by The Ebonaires. Johnny also starred in an all black musical comedy called Sugar Hill in 1949 at Las Palmas Theatre in California.

Johnny Lee as Algonquin J. Calhoun

Johnny Lee as Algonquin J. Calhoun

Johnny Lee is best known as the shyster lawyer Algonquin J. Calhoun in the Amos 'N' Andy TV Series. In some of the 1948-49 radio episodes where the Calhoun character is introduced, he is referred to as "Five Percent Calhoun" because his fee was 5% of whatever he got for his clients. Calhoun was often enlisted by The Kingfish to get him out of legal trouble or to help Kingfish rip Andy off with one of his investment schemes. 

 


Johnny Lee as Algonquin J. Calhoun
in The Amos 'N' Andy Show
(Advance to 2:12 to see Johnny)

Algonquin J. Calhoun: Your honor, you have heard the prosecution tell you that my client is dishonest. Your honor, it's easy for him to say that because my client is a crook! 

This portrayal of a "coon lawyer" was perhaps one of the most offensive to middle class African Americans. The NAACP complained bitterly about the portrayal of "Negro lawyers ... as slippery cowards, ignorant of their profession and without ethics."

Johnny Lee continued to work in Television through the 1950s and 60s. His last TV appearance was as Mr. Gibbons the Locksmith on Dennis the Menace in 1963.

 



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Blackface! -- Contents

History of Blackface

History of Minstrel Shows

Blacks in Blackface

Origins of Jump Jim Crow

Blackface Origins in Clowning

Blackface History Prior to Minstrel Shows

Excerpts from Monarchs of Minstrelsy (1911)

Famous Blackface Minstrel Performers

Blackface Around the World

About This Web Site


Racial and Racist Stereotypes in Media

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Blackface!
Black Stereotypes
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Yellowface!
Asian Stereotypes
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Brownface!
Hispanic Stereotypes
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Redface!
Indian Stereotypes
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Arabface!
Arab Stereotypes
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Jewface!
Jewish Stereotypes
 

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