How It Feels to Be Free

How It Feels to Be Free

Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement

Book - 2013
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The Civil Rights movement and popular culture are so closely intertwined in American memory that, even today, the soundtrack of counter-cultural opposition is what many still associate with the 1960s mainstream. What is less remembered today is how risky political activism was, on andoff-stage, for black female entertainers who were simultaneously trying to gain mass popularity. Rather than looking at the women of the sit-ins and popular protests, Ruth Feldstein in this project considers the public careers and activism of popular entertainers-actress Lena Horne, vocalist NinaSimone, model-turned-singer Abbey Lincoln, folk singer Miriam Makeba, actress Diahann Carroll, and actress Cicely Tyson. She examines each woman's personal political commitments and connections, and the ways that they were used nationally and internationally as symbols of the African American and women's rights struggles, in order to highlight particular moments of change in politics, the entertainment industry, andnotions of celebrity. Their cultural work, she argues, helped to constitute the climate in which dramatic political events and changes occurred, as well as how they and their work have been and remembered by the public.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2013]
ISBN: 9780195314038
Characteristics: 296 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Aug 15, 2014

This book was mentioned in a lengthy article, "A Raised Voice" by Claudia Roth Pierpont, on the late American black vocalist Nina Simone in The New Yorker magazine of August 11/18, 2014, p. 44-51, as a "highly intelligent example ... of what may be called Simone studies."


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