Raoul Granqvist's Culture in Africa: an appeal for pluralism PDF

By Raoul Granqvist

ISBN-10: 9171063307

ISBN-13: 9789171063304

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Emancipation took place in an atmosphere of rapid urbanization and industrialization, changes that encouraged the view that men (not so much women) were masters of their own destinies. If blacks were to shrug off notions of inferiority and participate fully in the new republic, they would have to develop themselves as individuals rather than members of black communities whose fate was linked. Within many northern black churches, members were urged to shed the epidermis of slavery by not celebrating traditional slave festivals, like John Canoe or John Kuners, which continued to be observed after emancipation (at least until the turn of the century).

For all its intrinsic character, the enduring success of blues as a cultural and commercial form came from without: the phonographic recording ensured a wide audience across the United States. In this sense, the experience of blues was an embryo of the whole black culture industry: authentic, original and loaded with virtuosity; yet exploitable and ultimately dependent on white culture for its production, dissemination and its recognition as a legitimate cultural product. “It had begun as early as the 1920s,” writes Gerri Hirshey.

White audiences eventually grew tired of the minstrels, black and white. Public curiosity, concern and interest declined in almost direct relation to the abatement of any threat that the post-emancipation period seemed to hold. Racist-inspired fears were unfounded after all. Yet, the minstrels’ impact lasted beyond their own lives. Black people had established a presence in popular entertainment and whites had accepted, perhaps even encouraged, this. Prominence in entertainment was no indicator of equality in whites’ eyes.

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Culture in Africa: an appeal for pluralism by Raoul Granqvist


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