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Amos 'n' Andy, the First Ever Black Television Sitcom

Amos n Andy, first Black sitcom

In 1951, a new show made history as the first Black sitcom to be broadcasted on national television. The sitcom was titled Amos ‘n’ Andy and starred over fifteen black actors. The first episode aired in 1951, but two white men had been already hosting a radio series with the same name since 1928.

Over time, however, these men aimed to bring their show to television, and after a three-year struggle, chose to cast Black actors to portray the show’s characters. According to an Ebony Magazine article from October 1961, the chosen main actors (Alvin Childress, Spencer Williams, and Tim Moore), were asked to keep their voices and speech patterns close to the original white characters who were now the TV show producers.

As it was aired, the NAACP protested the show, stating it was “a gross libel of the Negro and distortion of the truth.” After 65 episodes were produced, Amos ‘n’ Andy was canceled. Although there was much controversy over the show and its casting, Amos ‘n Andy opened the door for dozens of black sitcoms to flood American televisions since.