Prof. Joshua C. Davis (University of North Carolina): "The Selling of Soul: African American Radio, Record Stores and Consumer Culture"

24.05.2011, 14:15 Uhr, U2/01.30

Black-owned businesses long operated in the South in the Jim-Crow era, especially in the region’s so-called “separate cities,” semi-autonomousblack neighborhoods in small and large urban areas, while most white-owned businesses enforced Jim Crow by ignoring, excluding and belittling blackconsumers. It might seem that desegregation would have decreased African Americans’ enthusiasm for black-oriented business enterprise. But BlackPower ideology, with its support for black economic nationalism, and a deep desire to preserve black institutions and reinforce community power in theface of state-mandated desegregation revived support for black-owned businesses in the 1970s South. 

This talk will discuss African American radio personnel, record dealers,and consumers, many of whom thought little of assimilating into white-dominated pop music marketplaces in the era of desegregation. Instead, they pinned their hopes on local, black-oriented music businesses as vehicles for pursing economic self-sufficiency and for sustaining blackpublic life. Following the zenith of civil rights activism in the mid-1960s, African Americans’ relationship to predominantly black consumermarkets in the South took on new meanings.  African-American activists in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s often sought expandedaccess to white-controlled markets and businesses, but in the long 1970s black consumers and businesses owners increasingly asserted the need forself-sufficient African American marketplaces, thus promoting the tradition of black-owned businesses within the new context of a desegregating South.