Brenna Wynn Greer’s
new study Represented: The Black Imagemakers Who Reimagined American Citizenship
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019),
provides a fascinating look at a trio of black imagemakers – publisher John H. Johnson, PR executive Moss Kendrix, and photographer Gordon Parks – who played a critical role in selling the nation civil rights and African American respectability during the middle decades of the twentieth century. Greer offers a dense and highly nuanced analysis of the relationship between race, capitalism, and the modern American state. By demonstrating how black entrepreneurs used magazines, photographs and advertising to position African Americans as enthusiastic consumers and upstanding citizens, Represented
provides a field-altering account of the ways in which black people attempting to make the market work for racial progress.
James West is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in American History at Northumbria University. He is a historian of the modern United States. For more information please visit https://www.ejameswest.com