Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham was born on April 18, 1904. He was a well-known comedian, singer and dancer. He was born in the community of Hayti, in Durham, North Carolina. His family was well-known people in the area, and later had a street officially named after them, Markham Street. Markham began his career in the 1920s, he traveled and performed in burlesque shows. He was best known for a act he performed at the Apollo Theater where he wore a blackface and huge painted white lips, despite the backlash he received about the performance he continued making appearances.
In the 1950s Markham began appearing on television. He appeared numerous of times on the Ed Sullivan Show. Many people also grew to know him from his “Here Comes the Judge mockery. He made a mockery of formal courtroom etiquette, which became his signature routine. Markham would sit at an elevated judge’s bench in a #black graduation cap-and-gown, and focus on comics of people who have behaved badly. He would often deliver his “judgments”, as well as express frustration with the accused, by leaning over the bench and smacking the accused with an inflated balloon.
Markham had his performance done by Sammy Davis Jr which made the act well-known among the whites. Archie Campbell later adapted Markham’s routine, performing as “Justus O’ Peace,” on the country version of Laugh-In, Hee Haw, which borrowed heavily from the minstrel show tradition. Markham had a hit song with his “Here Comes The Judge”, which hit the Billboards at number 19 in 1968. He is recognized for being the originator of rap music. Markham died of a stroke at the age of 77. Listen to Markham’s song for yourself.