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Five African-Americans (three men, two women) perform a ‘cake walk’.

From the American Mutoscope and Biograph company.

No sound. 

The Cakewalk dance was developed from a “Prize Walk” done in the days of slavery, generally at get-togethers on plantations in theSouthern United States. Alternative names for the original form of the dance were “chalkline-walk“, and the “walk-around“. At the conclusion of a performance of the original form of the dance in an exhibit at the 1876 Centennial of the American Independence in Philadelphia, an enormous cake was awarded to the winning couple. Thereafter it was performed in minstrel shows, exclusively by men until the 1890s. The inclusion of women in the cast “made possible all sorts of improvisations in the Walk, and the original was soon changed into a grotesque dance” which became very popular across the country.

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