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The work of democracy : Ralph Bunche, Kenneth B. Clark, Lorraine Hansberry, and the cultural politics of race

Author: Ben Keppel
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1995.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Thirty years after the greatest legislative triumphs of the civil rights movement, overcoming racism remains what Martin Luther King, Jr., once called America's unfinished "work of democracy." Why this remains true is the subject of Ben Keppel's book. By carefully tracing the public lives of Ralph Bunche, Kenneth B. Clark, and Lorraine Hansberry, Keppel illuminates how the mainstream media selectively appropriated  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Keppel, Ben.
Work of democracy.
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1995
(OCoLC)607661154
Online version:
Keppel, Ben.
Work of democracy.
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1995
(OCoLC)622023301
Named Person: Ralph J Bunche; Kenneth Bancroft Clark; Lorraine Hansberry; Ralph J Bunche; Kenneth Bancroft Clark; Lorraine Hansberry; Lorraine Hansberry; Ralph J Bunche; Kenneth Bancroft Clark; Ralph J Bunche; Kenneth Bancroft Clark; Lorraine Hansberry
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ben Keppel
ISBN: 0674958438 9780674958432
OCLC Number: 30594234
Description: 314 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. Representatives, Representations, and the Cultural Politics of Race --
2. Ralph Bunche and American Racial Discourse --
3. Ralph Bunche and the Cultural Politics of Race --
4. Kenneth B. Clark and the Cultural Politics of the Brown Decision --
5. Kenneth B. Clark and Great Society Reform --
6. The Political Education of Lorraine Hansberry --
7. The Dialectical Imagination of Lorraine Hansberry.
Responsibility: Ben Keppel.
More information:

Abstract:

Thirty years after the greatest legislative triumphs of the civil rights movement, overcoming racism remains what Martin Luther King, Jr., once called America's unfinished "work of democracy." Why this remains true is the subject of Ben Keppel's book. By carefully tracing the public lives of Ralph Bunche, Kenneth B. Clark, and Lorraine Hansberry, Keppel illuminates how the mainstream media selectively appropriated the most challenging themes, ideas, and goals of the struggle for racial equality so that difficult questions about the relationship between racism and American democracy could be softened, if not entirely evaded. Keppel traces the circumstances and cultural politics that transformed each individual into a participant-symbol of the postwar struggle for equality. Here we see how United Nations ambassador Ralph Bunche, the first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, came to symbolize the American Dream while Bunche's opposition to McCarthyism was ignored. The emergence of psychologist and educator Kenneth B. Clark marked the ascendancy of the child and the public school as the leading symbols of the civil rights movement. Yet Keppel details how Clark's blueprint for "community action" was thwarted by machine politics. Finally, the author chronicles the process by which the "American Negro" became an "African-American" by considering the career of playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Keppel reveals how both the journalistic and the academic establishment rewrote the theme of her prizewinning play A Raisin in the Sun to conform to certain well-worn cultural conventions and the steps Hansberry took to reclaim the message of her classic. The Work of Democracy uses biography in innovative ways to reflect on how certain underlying cultural assumptions and values of American culture simultaneously advanced and undermined the postwar struggle for racial equality.

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Keppel rehabilitates Bunche, Clark, and Hansberry from their devaluation by civil rights activists since the late 1960s as alleged representatives of failed solutions. The three successfully Read more...

 
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