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Black Print with a White Carnation

Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star Newspaper, 1938-1989

Amy Helene Forss

Mildred Dee Brown (1905–89) was the cofounder of Nebraska’s Omaha Star, the longest running black newspaper founded by an African American woman in the United States. Known for her trademark white carnation corsage, Brown was the matriarch of Omaha’s Near North Side—a historically black part of town—and an iconic city leader. Her remarkable life, a product of the Reconstruction era and Jim Crow, reflects a larger American history that includes the Great Migration, the Red Scare of the post–World War era, civil rights and black power movements, desegregation, and urban renewal.

Within the context of African American and women’s history studies, Amy Helene Forss’s Black Print with a White Carnation examines the impact of the black press through the narrative of Brown’s life and work. Forss draws on more than 150 oral histories, numerous black newspapers, and government documents to illuminate African American history during the political and social upheaval of the twentieth century. During Brown’s fifty-one-year tenure, the Omaha Star became a channel of communication between black and white residents of the city, as well as an arena for positive weekly news in the black community. Brown and her newspaper led successful challenges to racial discrimination, unfair employment practices, restrictive housing covenants, and a segregated public school system, placing the woman with the white carnation at the center of America’s changing racial landscape.


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Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans

What do the comic book figures Static, Hardware, and Icon all have in common? Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans gives an answer that goes far beyond "tights and capes," an answer that lies within the mission Milestone Media, Inc., assumed in comic book culture. Milestone was the brainchild of four young black creators who wanted to part from the mainstream and do their stories their own way. This history of Milestone, a "creator-owned" publishing company, tells how success came to these mavericks in the 1990s and how comics culture was expanded and enriched as fans were captivated by this new genre. Milestone focused on the African American heroes in a town called Dakota. Quite soon these black action comics took a firm position in the controversies of race, gender, and corporate identity in contemporary America. Characters battled supervillains and sometimes even clashed with more widely known superheroes. Front covers of Milestone comics often bore confrontational slogans like "Hardware: A Cog in the Corporate Machine is About to Strip Some Gears." Milestone's creators aimed for exceptional stories that addressed racial issues without alienating readers. Some competitors, however, accused their comics of not being black enough or of merely marketing Superman in black face. Some felt that the stories were too black, but a large cluster of readers applauded these new superheroes for fostering African American pride and identity. Milestone came to represent an alternative model of black heroism and, for a host of admirers, the ideal of masculinity. Black Superheroes gives details about the founding of Milestone and reports on the secure niche its work and its image achieved in the marketplace. Tracing the company's history and discussing its creators, their works, and the fans, this book gauges Milestone alongside other black comic book publishers, mainstream publishers, and the history of costumed characters. Jeffrey A. Brown is an assistant professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University. He has been published in Screen, Cinema Journal, African American Review, Journal of Popular Culture, Discourse, and Journal of Popular Film and Television.

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Black Television Travels

African American Media around the Globe

Timothy Havens

Black Television Travels provides a detailed and insightful view of the roots and routes of the televisual representations of blackness on the transnational media landscape. By following the circulation of black cultural products and their institutionalized discourses—including industry lore, taste cultures, and the multiple stories of black experiences that have and have not made it onto the small screen—Havens complicates discussions of racial representation and exposes possibilities for more expansive representations of blackness while recognizing the limitations of the seemingly liberatory spaces created by globalization.”
—Bambi Haggins, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Arizona State University
“A major achievement that makes important contributions to the analysis of race, identity, global media, nation, and television production cultures. Discussions of race and television are too often constricted within national boundaries, yet this fantastic book offers a strong, compelling, and utterly refreshing corrective. Read it, assign it, use it.”
—Jonathan Gray, author of Television Entertainment, Television Studies, and Show Sold Separately 
Black Television Travels explores the globalization of African American television and the way in which foreign markets, programming strategies, and viewer preferences have influenced portrayals of African Americans on the small screen. Television executives have been notoriously slow to recognize the potential popularity of black characters and themes, both at home and abroad.  As American television brokers increasingly seek revenues abroad, their assumptions about saleability and audience perceptions directly influence the global circulation of these programs, as well as their content. Black Television Travels aims to reclaim the history of African American television circulation in an effort to correct and counteract this predominant industry lore.
Based on interviews with television executives and programmers from around the world, as well as producers in the United States, Havens traces the shift from an era when national television networks often blocked African American television from traveling abroad to the transnational, post-network era of today. While globalization has helped to expand diversity in African American television, particularly in regard to genre, it has also resulted in restrictions, such as in the limited portrayal of African American women in favor of attracting young male demographics across racial and national boundaries. Havens underscores the importance of examining boardroom politics as part of racial discourse in the late modern era, when transnational cultural industries like television are the primary sources for dominant representations of blackness.
Timothy Havens is an Associate Professor of television and media studies in the Department of Communication Studies, the Program in African American Studies, and the Program in International Studies at the University of Iowa.
In the Critical Cultural Communication series

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Blues Music in the Sixties

A Story in Black and White

Ulrich Adelt

In the 1960s, within the larger context of the civil rights movement and the burgeoning counterculture, the blues changed from black to white in its production and reception, as audiences became increasingly white. Yet, while this was happening, blackness-especially black masculinity-remained a marker of authenticity. Blues Music in the Sixties discusses these developments, including the international aspects of the blues. It highlights the performers and venues that represented changing racial politics and addresses the impact and involvement of audiences and cultural brokers.

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Blues of a Lifetime

Autobiography of Cornell Woolrich

Edited by Mark T. Bassett

Blues of a Lifetime is essential reading for people interested in suspense novelist Cornell Woolrich, author of Rear Window. Woolrich’s autobiography includes accounts of his working methods, his family and home, memories of childhood, college experience, and his philosophy of life.

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Faces of Shame

Elspeth Probyn

With the rise of pride - national pride, gay pride, black pride, fat pride - shame, the "sickness of the soul," has acquired a bad reputation. While the repudiation of some forms and consequences of societal shame are undoubtedly necessary, Elspeth Probyn contends that this emotion is a powerful resource in rethinking who we are and who we want to be. When we blush, we are driven to question what we value about ourselves and why. Blush argues that we are all born with a capacity for shame, much as we are born with the capacity for anger or pride, and that shame, like these other emotions, can be good for us and reveal the good in us. Painfully introspective, shame demands that we question our actions and our relationship to others. Shame's physical manifestation - the blush - gives us away, connecting us to our humanity. What shames us says a great deal about our character as individuals and as a society, about our past and our desires for the future. Written in an engaging and personal style, Blush combines psychology and cultural criticism, sociology and popular science, to present a unique perspective on debates about the ethics and emotion of identity.

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Born to Be Wild

The Rise of the American Motorcyclist

Randy D. McBee

In 1947, 4,000 motorcycle hobbyists converged on Hollister, California. As images of dissolute bikers graced the pages of newspapers and magazines, the three-day gathering sparked the growth of a new subculture while also touching off national alarm. In the years that followed, the stereotypical leather-clad biker emerged in the American consciousness as a menace to law-abiding motorists and small towns. Yet a few short decades later, the motorcyclist, once menacing, became mainstream. To understand this shift, Randy D. McBee narrates the evolution of motorcycle culture since World War II. Along the way he examines the rebelliousness of early riders of the 1940s and 1950s, riders' increasing connection to violence and the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, the rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s, and the factors that gave rise to a motorcycle rights movement. McBee's fascinating narrative of motorcycling's past and present reveals the biker as a crucial character in twentieth-century American life.

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Born to Rebel

An Autobiography

Benjamin E. Mays With a revised foreword by Orville Vernon Burton

Born the son of a sharecropper in 1894 near Ninety Six, South Carolina, Benjamin E. Mays went on to serve as president of Morehouse College for twenty-seven years and as the first president of the Atlanta School Board. His earliest memory, of a lynching party storming through his county, taunting but not killing his father, became for Mays an enduring image of black-white relations in the South. Born to Rebel is the moving chronicle of his life, a story that interlaces achievement with the rebuke he continually confronted.

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boundary 2

Vol. 26, no. 3 (1999) - vol. 31 (2004)

Extending beyond the postmodern, boundary 2 approaches problems of literature and culture from a number of politically, historically, and theoretically informed perspectives. boundary 2 remains committed to understanding the present and approaching the study of culture and politics (national and international) through literature, philosophy, and the human sciences.

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Boys Love Manga and Beyond

History, Culture, and Community in Japan

edited by Mark McLelland, Kazumi Nagaike, Katsuhiko Suganuma, and James Welker

Boys Love Manga and Beyond looks at a range of literary, artistic and other cultural products that celebrate the beauty of adolescent boys and young men. In Japan, depiction of the “beautiful boy” has long been a romantic and sexualized trope for both sexes and commands a high degree of cultural visibility today across a range of genres from pop music to animation.

In recent decades, “Boys Love” (or simply BL) has emerged as a mainstream genre in manga, anime, and games for girls and young women. This genre was first developed in Japan in the early 1970s by a group of female artists who went on to establish themselves as major figures in Japan’s manga industry. By the late 1970s many amateur women fans were getting involved in the BL phenomenon by creating and self-publishing homoerotic parodies of established male manga characters and popular media figures. The popularity of these fan-made products, sold and circulated at huge conventions, has led to an increase in the number of commercial titles available. Today, a wide range of products produced both by professionals and amateurs are brought together under the general rubric of “boys love,” and are rapidly gaining an audience throughout Asia and globally.

This collection provides the first comprehensive overview in English of the BL phenomenon in Japan, its history and various subgenres and introduces translations of some key Japanese scholarship not otherwise available. Some chapters detail the historical and cultural contexts that helped BL emerge as a significant part of girls’ culture in Japan. Others offer important case studies of BL production, consumption, and circulation and explain why BL has become a controversial topic in contemporary Japan.

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