The Color of Discipline: Civil Rights and Black Sexuality
Abstract

In the discourse of the civil rights movement, "full citizenship" was constructed upon heterosexuality and in opposition to non-heteronormative behaviors. Prior to the ascendancy of the movement in the 1950s, African-American working-class culture was far more open to homosexuality and non-heteronormative behavior than was the black middle class, which led the movement, or than white culture generally. This black working-class openness was one indication of a broader evasion of the repression required of "good Americans," as black homosexuals came to represent all the elements of African-American working-class culture that civil rights leaders identified as obstacles to the attainment of citizenship. At the height of the movement for integration, black queerness was replaced in public discourse and popular culture by black heteronormativity.


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