Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930

Synopsis

This collection of thirteen essays, edited by historian W. Fitzhugh Brundage, brings together original work from sixteen distinguished scholars in various disciplines, ranging from theater and literature to history and music, to address the complex roles of black performers, entrepreneurs, and consumers in American mass culture during the early twentieth century.
Moving beyond the familiar territory of blackface and minstrelsy, these essays present a fresh look at the history of African Americans and mass culture. With subjects ranging from representations of race in sheet music illustrations to African American interest in Haitian culture, Beyond Blackface recovers the history of forgotten or obscure cultural figures and shows how these historical actors played a role in the creation of American mass culture. The essays explore the predicament that blacks faced at a time when white supremacy crested and innovations in consumption, technology, and leisure made mass culture possible. Underscoring the importance and complexity of race in the emergence of mass culture, Beyond Blackface depicts popular culture as a crucial arena in which African Americans struggled to secure a foothold as masters of their own representation and architects of the nation's emerging consumer society.
The contributors are:
Davarian L. Baldwin, Trinity College
W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Clare Corbould, University of Sydney
Susan Curtis, Purdue University
Stephanie Dunson, Williams College
Lewis A. Erenberg, Loyola University Chicago
Stephen Garton, University of Sydney
John M. Giggie, University of Alabama
Grace Elizabeth Hale, University of Virginia
Robert Jackson, University of Tulsa
David Krasner, Emerson College
Thomas Riis, University of Colorado at Boulder
Stephen Robertson, University of Sydney
John Stauffer, Harvard University
Graham White, University of Sydney
Shane White, University of Sydney

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage
  • Stephanie Dunson
  • John Stauffer
  • David Krasner
  • Susan Curtis
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Chapel Hill, NC
Publication year:
  • 2011

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