I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture

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University of California Press, Sep 28, 1993 - Social Science - 260 pages
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This book divides into two basic parts. In Chapters 1 and 2 I discuss historical examples of "rumor" discourse and suggest whey many blacks have--for good reason--channeled beliefs about race relations into familiar formulae, ones developed as early as the time of the first contact between sub-Saharan Africans and European white. Then in Chapters 3-7 it explores the continuation of these issues in late-twentieth-century African-American rumors and contemporary legends, using examples collected in the field. Because Turner was able to monitor these contemporary legends as they unfolded and played themselves out, rigorous analysis was possible. What follows, then, is an examination of the themes common to these contemporary items and related historical ones, and an explanation for their persistence. Concerns about conspiracy, contamination, cannibalism, and castration--perceived threats to individual black bodies, which are then translated into animosity toward the race as a whole--run through nearly four hundred years of black contemporary legend material and prove remarkable tenacious. 
 

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I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

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Fried chicken will make you sterile; the FBI killed Martin Luther King, Jr.; the ``powers that be'' facilitated the crack epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, and the murders of black children in Atlanta ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Cannibalism 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒐𝒆 𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒉 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆
9
Corporal Control 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝒖𝒔 𝒃𝒖𝒓𝒏 𝒖𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒅𝒐
33
Conspiracy I 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑲𝑲𝑲 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒊𝒕
57
Conspiracy II 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒌𝒆𝒆𝒑 𝒖𝒔 𝒅𝒐𝒘𝒏
108
Contamination 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕 𝒌𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒖𝒔
137
ConsumerCorporate Conflict 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒐𝒏𝒕 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒎𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒖𝒚 𝒊𝒕
165
Crack 𝑺𝒆𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒖𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒅𝒓𝒖𝒈𝒔
180
Conclusion From Cannibalism to Crack
202
Continuing Concerns
221
Notes
229
Bibliography
245
Index
255
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About the author (1993)

Patricia A. Turner is Professor of African-American and African Studies at the University of California at Davis and the author of Ceramic Uncles & Celluloid Mammies: Black Images and Their Influence on Culture (1994).

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