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Equal TimeTelevision and the Civil Rights Movement$
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Aniko Bodroghkozy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036682

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036682.001.0001

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Propaganda Tool for Racial Progress?

Propaganda Tool for Racial Progress?

Chapter:
(p.17) Chapter 1 Propaganda Tool for Racial Progress?
Source:
Equal Time
Author(s):

Aniko Bodroghkozy

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036682.003.0002

This chapter examines early discourses on the relationship between television and the developing black freedom movement, with particular emphasis on optimistic hopes that television could be a progressive tool for African American advancement and racial justice. Unlike radio, early network television appeared to take seriously obligations to present African Americans in respectful ways. In the early 1950s, for example, NBC's politically progressive chief censor worked to eradicate offensive black stereotypes from programming by scrubbing references to “darkies,” images of Stepin Fetchit–style characters. This chapter first considers the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's protest against the Amos 'n' Andy and response to the Beulah radio shows before discussing the role of entertainment television in the pre-civil rights period. It looks at the ABC program The Beulah Show. While Beulah exemplifies early television's initial foray into the arena of race relations and black representation, this chapter argues that it did not give viewers a concept of black and white on equal terms.

Keywords:   network television, black freedom movement, racial justice, African Americans, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Amos 'n' Andy, radio shows, entertainment television, The Beulah Show, race relations

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