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Black Camelot African-American Culture Heroes in Their Times, 1960-1980

by William L. Van Deburg

  • ISBN: 9780226847160
  • ISBN10: 0226847160

Black Camelot African-American Culture Heroes in Their Times, 1960-1980

by William L. Van Deburg

  • List Price: $32.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780226847160
  • ISBN10: 0226847160
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Description: "A fascinating study of African-American popular culture heroes. ... Black Camelot breaks new ground in its emphasis on the history of popular as opposed to middlebrow or high culture and its discussion of the Meek heroic in American popular culture". -- Waldo Martin, University of California, Berkeley

In the wake of the Kennedy era, a new kind of ethnic hero emerged within African-American popular culture. Uniquely suited to the times, burgeoning pop icons such as Muhammad Ali, James Brown, and Pam Grier projected the values and beliefs of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and reflected at once the possibility and the actuality of a rapidly changing American landscape. In Black Camelot, William Van Deburg examines the dynamic rise of these new black champions, the social and historical contexts in which they flourished, and their powerful impact on the American scene at large.

Stepping out from all walks of African-American cultural life, these pop heroes, in their very diversity, symbolized both the breadth and the centrality of the Black Power message: sports figures embodied drive, ability, self-assurance, and the determination to succeed; vastly creative musicians -- blues, jazz, and soul artists -- challenged convention and celebrated diversity; and, bursting from the pages of pulp fiction or off the big screen, trickster hustlers, black revolutionaries, and superstar detectives displayed at once street smarts and worldly wisdom, confidence, competence, and commitment. In all, this African-American heroic epitomized a grand and empowering vision; a multiracial society in which an individual's intrinsic human worth could be universally recognized and respectedtogether with his unique ethnic identity.

Ultimately, Van Deburg argues, the pop medium and its new heroes played for black freedom a vital cultural role, spreading its spirit and substance to a broad audience both within and beyond the African-American community, and offering the principles of liberation, solidarity, and pride to those who might otherwise have remained estranged.

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