Academic journal article Journalism History

Media, Culture, and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle

Academic journal article Journalism History

Media, Culture, and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle

Article excerpt

Ward, Brian, ed. Media, Culture, and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2001. 312 pp. $55.

Brian Ward's Media, Culture, and theModern African American Freedom Struggle explores the intersection of this struggle with the role media and culture played in shaping and commemorating the movement to gain African Americans respect, freedom and opportunity. The book presents the work of distinguished American and international academics (Sharon Montieth, Allison Grapham, and David Chappelle, among others) as well as activists (including Julian Bond), arranged thematically in a collection of thirteen articles. Covering the areas of film, print journalism, television, radio, fiction, and music, the articles give fresh insight into the African-American cultural struggle.

The book makes a contribution on several levels. First, it is an examination of how the post-World War II freedom struggle provided context and content for significant developments in media industries. Second, it explores how these media intersected with the struggle for racial justice by shaping popular perceptions about race and race relations with a "master narrative."

A master narrative, according to the article by Ward, is the conventional wisdom of the dominant culture that exists in American social memory about the origins, nature, and legacies of the post war freedom struggle. By inviting readers to think about the evolution of the civil rights and black power movements in new ways, the collection casts doubts on traditional movement histories and offers a healthy correction to conventional accounts of the dramatic events that raced across the American stage following World War II. …

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