Mark A. JohnsonAug 5, 2021
Black Performance in Political Spectacles, 1877-1932
During the nadir of race relations in the United States South from 1877 to 1932, African Americans faced segregation, disfranchisement, and lynching. Among many forms of resistance, African Americans used their musical and theatrical talents to challenge white supremacy, attain economic opportunity, and transcend segregation. In Rough Tactics: Black Performance in Political Spectacles, 1877-1932 (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), Dr. Mark A. Johnson argues that African Americans, especially performers, retooled negative stereotypes and segregation laws to their advantage. From 1877 to 1932, African Americans spoke at public rallies, generated enthusiasm with music, linked party politics to the memory of the Civil War, honored favorable candidates, and openly humiliated their opposition.
Dr. Mark A. Johnson is Lecturer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) is a PhD candidate in Musicology at Florida State University. She is currently working on a dissertation about parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival celebrations.