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American Allegory
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American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination

Black Hawk Hancock

Abstract

“Perhaps,” wrote Ralph Ellison more than seventy years ago, “the zoot suit contains profound political meaning; perhaps the symmetrical frenzy of the Lindy-hop conceals clues to great potential power.” As Ellison noted then, many of our most mundane cultural forms are larger and more important than they appear, taking on great significance and an unexpected depth of meaning. What he saw in the power of the Lindy Hop—the dance that Life magazine once billed as “America's True National Folk Dance”—would spread from black America to make a lasting impression on white America and offer us a truly ... More

Keywords: Ralph Ellison, zoot suit, Lindy-hop, cultural forms, segregated social practices, Chicago, Steppin', racial tension, black cultural forms, multiculturalism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780226043074
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226043241.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Black Hawk Hancock, author