Denison's make-up guide (1926) was a catalogue of the various products sold by Denison, but it also offered detailed instructions on how to use their products. Below is their guide for "blacking up" using their Superfine Minstrel Black make-up paint. There were similar how-to's for other ethnic types such as the 'Ghetto Jew,' the Japanese, Irishman, Chinaman, etc. See more images from the catalogue at UVA's online exhibit, Uncle Tom's Cabin & American Culture.
Modern U.S. elections have their problems, but at least election laws aren't as blatantly racist as they were as late as the 1950s. For instance, in Oklahoma, in the 1950s, if you wanted to run for public office you first had to file a form with the state declaring what race you were. There were only two options. If you were of "African descent" you were "Negro." If you were anything else (Chinese, Australian aboriginal, etc.) you were "White." If you indicated you were "Negro," then this descriptive term was placed in parentheses after your name on the ballot. "Whites" were not similarly labeled.
A black Oklahoma City attorney, A.B. McDonald, filed suit against the State Election Board in 1954 alleging discrimination. The District Court dismissed his case, ruling that, "The placing of the word 'Negro' on a ballot after the name of a candidate is merely descriptive and properly serves to inform the electors of the fact that the candidate is of African descent."
The Supreme Court eventually overturned the District Court's ruling, deciding that the Oklahoma law was unconstitutional. As for A.B. McDonald, I haven't been able to find much information on his subsequent career. All I found was a short paragraph in Jet magazine (Mar 1959) indicating that he had some other problems in his life:
I was aware that during the late 1930s the Nazis used all kinds of flimsy pretexts to shut down Jewish businesses in Germany — claiming, for instance, that the businesses had violated various obscure regulations that no one had ever heard of before. But until I came across the news clipping below (NY Post, Jan 13, 1936), I hadn't realized that this effort included decrees to prevent the "race defilement" of cows, by forbidding Jewish-owned cows from mating with "Aryan" bulls. I assume that once the cows were acquired by 'Aryan' farmers, their Jewish origin was quickly forgotten. [Jewish News Archive]
I've never been able to find any further details about the strange tale of William Lacey beyond the short article below from a 1901 newspaper (The Fort Wayne News, Nov 9, 1901). However, Lacey wasn't the only person during this period who was exhibited as a "wild man." Ota Benga is probably the most famous example of the phenomenon.
BERLIN. Nov. 9 -- After seven months of captivity as a wild man from Borneo, during which time he was hauled all over Europe in an iron cage with a ring in his nose, William Lacey, a Virginia negro, 30 years of age, visited the American consulate in Berlin yesterday and told a remarkable tale of alleged brutality and suffering. Lacey says that he came to Germany on a tramp steamer last March and became stranded in Hamburg. There a bogus circus manager offered him 10 marks a month to impersonate a wild man with a traveling show. He took the job and discovered a few days afterward that he constituted the entire circus and menagerie. He was compelled to live in a cage, bedded in straw, and take his food through the iron bars. During exhibition hours attendants prodded him with pitchforks to make him execute weird dances to the accompaniment of ghoulish yells. A fortnight ago the proprietor of the show died and the negro awoke one morning to find himself deserted and the cage door unlocked. The consulate provided Lacey with transportation to Hamburg.