By William L. Van Deburg
In Black Camelot, William Van Deburg examines the dynamic upward push of those new black champions, the social and ancient contexts during which they flourished, and their strong effect at the African-American community.
"Van Deburg manages the enviable feat of writing with aptitude inside a standardized educational framework, masking politics, social matters and leisure with equivalent aplomb."—Jonathan Pearl, Jazz Times
"[A] attention-grabbing, thorough account of ways African-American icons of the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s have replaced the process American background. . . . An in-depth, even-tempered research. . . . Van Deburg’s witty, full of life and consistently grounded kind entertains whereas it instructs."—Publishers Weekly
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Extra resources for Black Camelot: African-American Culture Heroes in Their Times, 1960-1980
What has he ever accomplished? KINGFISH: Well, yesterday, he had a run of thirteen balls in da side pocket without leanin’on da table. Why don’t he go to a cultured place like a public library? 27 In the minstrel’s world, the glass ceiling of racial stereotyping-not segregation, job discrimination, or dsfranchisement-limited the African-American’s pos- The Black Hero’s History and Humanity 35 sibilities. Here, both the reality of black impoverishment and the omnipresence of black unrest were denied.
Derby, 18521) 34 CHAPTER ONE funny bone. Make no mistake, even black audiences chuckled at radio comics Amos ’n’Andy, Sam ’n’Henry, and Molasses ’n’January. But there was a sinister side to these “dusky delineators of devastating d ~ m b f o o l e r y . Their ” ~ ~ humorous antics camouflaged a hidden agenda that had little to do with mirth and merriment. In addition to their unparalleled ability to galvanize a laugh meter, these comical figures served as mechanisms of social control and agents of white psychological security.
He suggested that it was highly unlikely that the fortunes of the black race would improve materially if the Lodge-Roosevelt model of heroism continued to hold sway. Throughout history, African peoples had been among the chief victims of white heroism. Rarely had white-race champions endowed with these traits proven to be “kind and gentle” in their dealings with other groups. All too often, the “iron” in their wills had served as a bludgeon, not a self-governing mechanism. Certainly, the rise of white elites to positions of high status within American institutions may not, in every case, have been the result of “vulgar longing,”but the resulting allocation of political, economic, and social power most definitely had worked against blacks’ best interests.