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Japanese Tommy (1840-1902). Historical image of the African American minstrel performer Thomas Dilward, known as Japanese Tommy. Tommy performed in the blackface minstrel show and was one of only two known black people to perform with white minstrels before the American Civil War. As a dwarf, his short stature made him a 'curious attraction' and allowed him to perform with white people at a time when practically no black men did. Later he performed with a number of black minstrel troups. Photographed circa 1855-1865.
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