William H. West (entertainer)
William H. West (June 18, 1853 – February 15, 1902), known as the "Progressive Minstrel," emulated the British minstrel owner Sam Hague and became one of the first white owners of a minstrel troupe composed of black performers in the United States.
He often produced and played minstrel shows with George Primrose, first with a minstrel troupe owned by J. H. Haverly, and later in a show known as Primrose and West starring entertainers Milt G. Barlow and George Wilson, under the management of Henry J. Sayers.
Primrose and West had a hit, and they came to be called "The Millionaires of Minstrelsy." He became the sole producer of the supposedly Richest and Costliest Minstrel Organization in Existence: West's Big Minstrel Jubilee, which featured some of the leading performers of the day, always ending with the cast, in blackface, singing songs of the period.
- 1882. Newspaper clipping from "How Burnt Cork Pays." Quoted in Toll 154.
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