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Title: Culture from the midnight hour : a critical reassessment of the black power movement in twentieth century America
Authors: Torrubia, Rafael
Supervisors: De Groot, Gerard J.
Keywords: Black power
Black Panthers
Civil rights
Issue Date: 23-Jun-2011
Abstract: The thesis seeks to develop a more sophisticated view of the black power movement in twentieth century America by analysing the movement’s cultural legacy. The rise, maturation and decline of black power as a political force had a significant impact on American culture, black and white, yet to be substantively analysed. The thesis argues that while the black power movement was not exclusively cultural it was essentially cultural. It was a revolt in and of culture that was manifested in a variety of forms, with black and white culture providing an index to the black and white world view. This independent black culture base provided cohesion to a movement otherwise severely lacking focus and structural support for the movement’s political and economic endeavours. Each chapter in the PhD acts as a step toward understanding black power as an adaptive cultural term which served to connect and illuminate the differing ideological orientations of movement supporters and explores the implications of this. In this manner, it becomes possible to conceptualise the black power movement as something beyond a cacophony of voices which achieved few tangible gains for African-Americans and to move the discussion beyond traditional historiographical perspectives which focus upon the politics and violence of the movement. Viewing the movement from a cultural perspective places language, folk culture, film, sport, religion and the literary and performing arts in a central historical context which served to spread black power philosophy further than political invective. By demonstrating how culture served to broaden the appeal and facilitate the acceptance of black power tenets it is possible to argue that the use of cultural forms of advocation to advance black power ideologies contributed significantly to making the movement a lasting influence in American culture – one whose impact could be discerned long after its exclusively political agenda had disintegrated.
Type: Thesis
Publisher: University of St Andrews
Appears in Collections:Modern History Theses

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