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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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: “The national mental attitude”

: “The national mental attitude”

(p.1) Introduction: “The national mental attitude”
Art for Equality

Jenny Woodley

University Press of Kentucky

The introduction establishes the NAACP's cultural strategy: its attitude toward different forms of culture and its ideas about how these could be used to combat racial inequality. Broadly speaking, this strategy had two strands: to demonstrate the artistic and creative talents of African Americans and to challenge degrading racial stereotypes and offer positive alternatives to these representations. These strands were directed at both whites and African Americans in order to alter white opinion and to encourage racial pride and a sense of identity. At the heart of the NAACP's cultural campaigns was the belief that racial inequality was caused by the attitudes of white Americans toward blacks: the “national mental attitude.” The association hoped that if it could change those views, then it would open the way for greater civil rights.

Keywords:   NAACP, Racial stereotypes, Civil rights, Racial pride

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