Catalogue


Black culture and the New Deal : the quest for civil rights in the Roosevelt era /
Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2009.
description
xiv, 312 p.
ISBN
0807833126 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780807833124 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2009.
isbn
0807833126 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780807833124 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6995323
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration refused to endorse legislation that openly sought to improve political, economic, and social conditions for African Americans, but they did recognize and celebrate African Americans, says Sklaroff, by offering federal support to notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists. Sklaroff argues that these New Deal programs represent a key moment in the history of American race relations, as the cultural arena provided black men and women with unique employment opportunities and new outlets for political expression.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-08-01:
Despite popular belief, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal furthered civil rights through the Works Progress Administration's Federal Arts projects, support that continued through the war years, thus setting the stage to dismantle segregation in the 1960s. Cultural policy became a means to affirm African American citizenship and inclusiveness without jeopardizing FDR's southern support. Despite attacks of communist influence by the House Un-American Activities Committee, liberals involved with the various arts programs used intellectual pursuits to further social reform. Though they often steered away from overtly controversial themes, the programs successfully undermined the worst stereotypes of minstrelsy, which supported Jim Crow racism. Though some vocal African Americans (Walter White, for example) felt the programs did not go far enough, those involved welcomed both the exposure and the economic opportunities. This mixed feeling continued during the war years, when the Office of War Information encouraged the production of Hollywood films that portrayed African Americans in strong, positive roles. Univ. of South Carolina historian Sklaroff's monograph complements Glenda Gilmore, Defying Dixie (CH, May'09, 46-5220), and Barbara Savage, Broadcasting Freedom (CH, Oct'09, 37-1130), and will be of interest to all concerned with New Deal history and the origins of civil rights. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. D. R. Jamieson Ashland University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Sklaroff's book convincingly reveals the New Deal era as an important and underexamined link in the related narratives of African American cultural development and the civil rights movement." - African American Review
"Will be of interest to all concerned with New Deal history and the origins of civil rights. . . . Recommended." - Choice
"Will be of interest to all concerned with New Deal history and the origins of civil rights. . . . Recommended." -Choice
"A well-written complement to the numerous political studies of the New Deal and its individual agencies." - Louisiana History
"Provid[es] a refreshing new perspective on the ways in which African Americans carved out spaces for civil rights activism in public life. . . . A valuable addition to the growing history of the 'long' civil rights movement." - H-Net Reviews
"Provid[es] a refreshing new perspective on the ways in which African Americans carved out spaces for civil rights activism in public life. . . . A valuable addition to the growing history of the 'long' civil rights movement." -H-Net Reviews
"A significant contribution to the literature on the Civil Rights Movement in the Roosevelt era'_¦.Important to our understanding of race in the twentieth century. The book deftly connects political, social, and cultural concerns and illustrates the importance of the era's efforts based on a longer view of Civil Rights." - Southern Historian
"A significant contribution to the literature on the Civil Rights Movement in the Roosevelt era….Important to our understanding of race in the twentieth century. The book deftly connects political, social, and cultural concerns and illustrates the importance of the era's efforts based on a longer view of Civil Rights." - Southern Historian
"A nuanced and highly effective exploration of the discourses about race and inequality in the theater, radio, print culture, and motion pictures of the era. . . . Makes a major contribution to the history of the era." - Reviews in American History
"A significant contribution to the literature on the Civil Rights Movement in the Roosevelt era .Important to our understanding of race in the twentieth century. The book deftly connects political, social, and cultural concerns and illustrates the importance of the era's efforts based on a longer view of Civil Rights." - Southern Historian
"An accessible study that offers a fresh understanding of race-related programs during the Roosevelt era by showing how "cultural emancipation" complemented economic policies to improve life for all Americans. . . . A valuable addition to scholarship on civil rights, the Roosevelt administration, and cultural politics." - The Journal of Southern History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, August 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration-unwilling to antagonize a powerful southern congressional bloc-refused to endorse legislation that openly sought to improve political, economic, and social conditions for African Americans. Instead, as historian Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff shows, the administration recognized and celebrated African Americans by offering federal support to notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists. Sklaroff illustrates how programs within the Federal Arts Projects and several war agencies gave voice to African Americans such as Lena Horne, Joe Louis, Duke Ellington, and Richard Wright, as well as lesser-known figures. She argues that these New Deal programs represent a key moment in the history of American race relations, as the cultural arena provided black men and women with unique employment opportunities and new outlets for political expression. Equally important, she contends that these cultural programs were not merely an attempt to appease a black constituency but were also part of the New Deal's larger goal of promoting a multiracial nation. Yet, while federal projects ushered in creativity and unprecedented possibilities, they were subject to censorship, bigotry, and political machinations. With numerous illustrations,Black Culture and the New Dealoffers a fresh perspective on the New Deal's racial progressivism and provides a new framework for understanding black culture and politics in the Roosevelt era.
Main Description
In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration-unwilling to antagonize a powerful southern congressional bloc-refused to endorse legislation that openly sought to improve political, economic, and social conditions for African Americans. Instead, as historian Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff shows, the administration recognized and celebrated African Americans by offering federal support to notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists. Sklaroff illustrates how programs within the Federal Arts Projects and several war agencies gave voice to African Americans such as Lena Horne, Joe Louis, Duke Ellington, and Richard Wright, as well as lesser-known figures. She argues that these New Deal programs represent a key moment in the history of American race relations, as the cultural arena provided black men and women with unique employment opportunities and new outlets for political expression. Equally important, she contends that these cultural programs were not merely an attempt to appease a black constituency but were also part of the New Deal's larger goal of promoting a multiracial nation. Yet, while federal projects ushered in creativity and unprecedented possibilities, they were subject to censorship, bigotry, and political machinations. With numerous illustrations, Black Culture and the New Deal offers a fresh perspective on the New Deal's racial progressivism and provides a new framework for understanding black culture and politics in the Roosevelt era.

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