From pamphlets denouncing slavery to boycotts of Hollywood, African Americans have fought for adequate representations of themselves in the mass media industries of the United States. This book provides readers with an interdisciplinary overview of the past, present, and future of African Americans in U.S. media and the ongoing project of gaining racial equality in media: a process which spans generations. Catherine Squires introduces the reader to the varied ways in which Black Americans have navigated cultural, political, and economic obstacles both to make their own media and to critique mainstream media.
Synthesizing the work of social scientists, historians, cultural critics, as well as comments from audience members and media producers, African Americans and the Media gives readers a lively entry point to classic and contemporary studies of Black Americans and mass media. Across the chapters, readers follow African Americans’ struggles to harness the power of print, broadcasting, film, and digital media, through five main themes which are woven through the book: representation, circulation, innovation, audience and responsibility. Taking in examples as diverse as Blaxploitation films, the work of 20th Century black activist journalists such as Ida B. Wells and A. Philip Randolph, and popular television such as The Cosby Show, this book will be essential reading for all students and scholars of media and communications and African American studies.