Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book has had a rather long gestation. Its origins date to the early 1990s when, as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I found myself in the Wisconsin State Historical Society archives foraging through the papers of TV writer-producer Hal Kanter and not finding what I had hoped to find. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

Montgomery, Alabama, March 17, 1965. The black voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was into its third month of marches and protest fifty miles east in the small city of Selma. On this day a group of black and white college students accompanied by priests and rabbis had decided to bring the movement’s demands to the state capitol. ...

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1. Propaganda Tool for Racial Progress?

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pp. 17-38

In June 1950, Ebony magazine had good news for its African American readers about television: the new medium looked to be a strong ally to the black community in its struggle for racial equality and opportunity. Pointing out the popularity and frequency of black performers on television programming, Ebony argued this was “a sure sign that television is free of racial barriers. ...

Network News in the Civil Rights Era

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2. The Chosen Instrument of the Revolution?

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pp. 41-60

Seventy-five newsmen convened at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism in 1965 to grapple with ethical dilemmas arising from television news and its coverage of the civil rights movement. To what extent was broadcast journalism actively participating in events it was supposed to be observing? ...

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3. Fighting for Equal Time: Segregationists vs. Integrationists

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pp. 61-88

Mississippi Congressman John Bell Williams was deeply troubled by the state of network television and its regulatory body in 1963. To him, most of the FCC’s commissioners were supporters of “race mixing,” a matter he wanted investigated by the Communications Committee chairman. ...

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4. The March on Washington and a Peek into Racial Utopia

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pp. 89-114

On a sunny, humid day in late August 1963, a quarter of a million civil rights marchers converged on the nation’s capital to press for “jobs and freedom.” Television cameras and reporters focused on the demonstrators’ placards and signs. One in particular caught the attention of the TV cameras. It read: “Look Mom! Dogs have TV shows. ...

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5. Selma in the “Glaring Light of Television”

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pp. 115-152

Network television in the 1960s had no more powerful lineup than Sunday night. CBS’s perennial favorite, The Ed Sullivan Show; NBC’s Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color; and the powerhouse western, Bonanza, were all among the Nielsen’s top twenty-five most-watched shows. ...

Civil Rights in Prime-Time Entertainment

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6. Bringing “Urgent Issues” to the Vast Wasteland: East Side/West Side

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pp. 155-179

In May 1961, the National Association of Broadcasters, the powerful trade group for American commercial television and radio broadcasters, held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. As was customary, the NAB invited the new head of the FCC to address them. The recently appointed chairman, Newton Minow, was a lawyer and former aide to Adlai Stevenson ...

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7. Is This What You Mean by Color TV? Julia

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pp. 180-202

“Annus horribilis” would be one way to label America in 1968. The country lurched through a series of calamities and shocks that suggested a wholesale rending of the sociopolitical fabric of the land. Early in the year, what remained of Americans’ faith that victory was possible in Vietnam suffered a body blow as the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive. ...

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8. Prime Time, Good Times

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pp. 203-224

On September 12, 1974, the first day of school for the Boston public school system, yellow buses rolled out from the black ghetto Roxbury, ferrying poor black students to white, working-class South Boston in order to integrate the stubbornly segregated schools of the “cradle of liberty.” ...

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Epilogue: The Return of Civil Rights Television: The Obama Victory

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pp. 225-230

On March 5, 2007, television cameras returned to Selma, Alabama. CNN’s viewers saw footage of the day that looked similar to what viewers watching Selma coverage forty-two years ago saw night after night: shots of black people singing “We Shall Overcome”; individualized portraits of dignity, such as an elderly black man presented in a low-angle tilt, ...

Notes

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pp. 231-252

Bibliography

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pp. 253-258

Index

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pp. 259-266

back cover

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pp. 282-282