Race, recreation and the American South: Georgia‘s Black State Fair 1906-1930

Nowicki, Kate Elizabeth (2012) Race, recreation and the American South: Georgia‘s Black State Fair 1906-1930. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis provides a specific insight into the previously unexplored subject of the black fair in Macon, Georgia from 1906 to 1930. It draws on archives, government papers, newspaper reports, and the correspondence of black leaders in order to create a localised study documenting the attempts of Georgia‘s African Americans to further themselves and to improve race relations within their community. Subsequently, the fair creates a microcosm of wider efforts of black uplift and racial politics in the South during this period. The fair reveals the work of Richard Wright, a figure who demonstrated how local African American leaders often straddled the doctrines of W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, and adapted their philosophies within everyday life. The fair is also illustrative of how leaders such as Washington also cultivated relationships with black community leaders and fellow educators, while also connecting to the black masses. Similarly the celebration and appearance of national black political figures, such as James Napier, encouraged black pride and determination. Furthermore, such exhibits created powerful symbols which connected black political success with economic wealth.

The thesis thereby situates the black fair and its organisers within a significant period of black political development, one which contributed to the later Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Institutions such as the African American fair were vital spaces which fostered a sense of black community, economics and autonomy. This thesis helps draw attention to the importance of such recreational spaces, repositioning them within the political and social studies of black southerners during the early twentieth century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > American Studies
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General) > E0740 Twentieth century
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F001 United States local history
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2012 09:00
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2015 14:56
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39611

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