As minstrelsy gained popularity, some African-American performers formed their own "authentic" troupes and a few even wrote their own material. One of the most prominent African-American composers of the era was James A. Bland. He penned pieces such as "Dem Golden Slippers." Other major African-American songwriters featured in this collection include Sam Lucas, who wrote "Carve dat Possum" and "De day I as sot free". Some possible questions for students include the following:
- What attitudes towards slavery and race are portrayed in these songs?
- How do these songs compare with minstrel tunes by white songwriters?
- How do these songs compare with spirituals and jubilee songs that date back to the days of slavery?