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Art for EqualityThe NAACPs Cultural Campaign for Civil Rights$
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Jenny Woodley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813145167

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813145167.001.0001

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White in Hollywood

White in Hollywood

Chapter:
(p.127) 5 White in Hollywood
Source:
Art for Equality
Author(s):

Jenny Woodley

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813145167.003.0006

This chapter investigates Walter White's attempts to convince the film industry to change its depiction of African Americans. In the 1940s White went to Hollywood to put pressure on the studio moguls. He wanted black people to appear in films as they did in real life; for White this meant more middle-class, respectable black characters. White was helped, to a certain extent, by the outbreak of the Second World War and by the government's efforts to improve black morale through film, as well as by the liberal conscience of some Hollywood insiders. There was some cause for optimism when African Americans appeared in war films. However, many of the old racial stereotypes remained, and this chapter argues that the strategy, driven in large part by White's ego and his desire to mingle with the rich and famous, in many ways reflected African Americans’ continued lack of economic and political power.

Keywords:   Hollywood, Second World War, Racial stereotypes, Walter White

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