Thanks D, good point about the 'face paint' since medieval times.
"Jester banjo"....well maybe we are called that behind our backs sometimes.... lol.
Anyone else have some thoughts on the date thing?
There's some evidence of a blackface performance tradition (by white guys, that is) in early sheet music for several (African-American) dialect songs earlier than the minstrel shows, proper. "Backside Albany" is one (about War of 1812 events, and in print in the 1820s at least). I think we have discussed it in that context, here.
Earlier than that, I think most of the extant descriptions are actually black guys, not white guys blacking up.
,,,and nice to 'see' you! :)