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The Fruits of Integration

The Fruits of Integration: Black Middle-Class Ideology and Culture, 1960-1990

Charles T. Banner-Haley
Copyright Date: 1994
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  • Book Info
    The Fruits of Integration
    Book Description:

    In late twentieth-century America the black middle class has occupied a unique position. It greatly influenced the way African Americans were perceived and presented to the greater society, and it set roles and guidelines for the nation's black masses. Though historically a small group, it has attempted to be a model for inspiration and uplift.

    As a key force in the "Africanizing" of American culture, the black middle class has been both a shaper and a mirror during the past three decades. This study of that era shows that the fruits of integration have been at once sweet and bitter. This history of a pivotal group in American society will cause reflection, discussion, and debate.

    eISBN: 978-1-61703-113-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Introduction: The Ambiguity of Nomenclature
    (pp. xvii-2)

    In 1988, shortly after the presidential election of George Bush, the Reverend Jesse Jackson met with a group of black leaders and heads of various social agencies to set an agenda for AfroAmerica for the coming century. When the meeting was over, the one thing that had received the most attention in the media (and this attention was certainly not discouraged by the conference participants) was the pronouncement that from now on black people would be termedAfrican Americans.¹ For those who had been involved in the civil rights–black power movements, however—who had witnessed the struggle to get...

  5. Chapter 1 Leaders of Thought, Missionaries of Culture
    (pp. 3-26)

    It was a spring evening in April 1984 at Cornell University when Clarence Pendleton, chair of the Commission on Civil Rights, delivered a talk on the need for putting “true equality” back into civil rights.¹ Pendleton’s presence at the Cornell campus had stirred up the usual commotion, given his controversial stature as the conservative choice of Ronald Reagan to head the otherwise liberal commission. For several weeks, students had been demonstrating against the university’s investments in South Africa, and yet now the speakers’ board had invited a man who, even though himself a black, carried out policies under the direction...

  6. Chapter 2 From the Hollow to the High Ground and Back: The Civil Rights Movement and Its Aftermath
    (pp. 27-52)

    The 1960s saw America undergo social and cultural changes that still affect the nation and promise to do so well into the next century. For African Americans in general, and the black middle class in particular, the sixties were a time not only of change but also of expansion, of new opportunities. This was also a period of personal and cultural self-affirmation, in which black Americans as a whole began to reenvision America. That the massive movement of black people toward the attainment of civil rights and equal opportunities met with resistance goes without saying. It could not have been...

  7. Chapter 3 To Preserve the Dignity of the Race: Black Conservatives and Affirmative Action
    (pp. 53-80)

    The conservative triumph of the 1980s signaled that there would be no further steps taken to resolve the extreme difficulties facing the black community. In the language of the New Right the solution to these problems was couched in phrases such as “law and order” and “enterprise zones,” accompanied by calls for a return to “traditional family values.” Taken at face value, of course, these phrases seemed to hold out some promise. The new emphasis on law and order perhaps meant that the federal government was planning to do something about the epidemic of drugs and crime that was ravaging...

  8. Chapter 4 Integrating the Many Voices: The Continuing Growth of African American Literature
    (pp. 81-120)

    As a nation within a nation, a people imbued with a double consciousness, AfroAmerica underwent a series of rebirths during the twentieth century. African American historians generally tend to focus on the years between 1919 and 1935 as the period in which the “New Negro” emerged. For our purposes, this era provided the foundation on which the black middle class would build its cultural representation of AfroAmerica as a race and as a nation within America. The period was called the Harlem Renaissance because of the vast migration of black people into Manhattan’s northwest sector and the subsequent outpouring of...

  9. Chapter 5 Sound and Image: The Cultural Fruits of Integration
    (pp. 121-156)

    The cultural representations of African Americans through music and visual imagery has always been a concern of the black middle class. There was, of course, the wish to celebrate the rich rhythms and creative artistic expression of African Americans. But there was also an underlying concern as to how these cultural productions would be received by a larger public accustomed to often vicious racial stereotypes. Added to this was the tension between the idea that artistic renditions of AfroAmerica should be free to depict that culture openly and completely, warts and all, and the desire of the black middle class...

  10. Chapter 6 Changing the Guard: AfroAmerica’s New Guardians of Culture
    (pp. 157-176)

    As if exhausted by the tumult of the sixties, the post–World War II baby boom generation turned inward during the seventies and eighties, settling into careers and raising families. Apparently turning their backs on the radical idealism of their youth, a vast number of these people voted for Ronald Reagan, although it was by no means clear that their political ideology matched his. In all likelihood, Reagan’s appeal lay more in his promise to make them feel good about themselves amid economic stagnation and in a fragmented, postmodern world. In keeping with the postmodern ethic—the denial of reliable...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 177-218)
  12. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 219-228)
  13. Index
    (pp. 229-232)