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Under a Bad Sign – Criminal Self-Representation in African American Popular Culture - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Under a Bad Sign: Criminal Self-Representation in African American Popular Culture

Jonathan Munby


What accounts for the persistence of the figure of the black criminal in popular culture created by African Americans? Unearthing the history of art that has often seemed at odds with the politics of civil rights and racial advancement, this book explores the rationale behind this tradition of criminal self-representation from the Harlem Renaissance to contemporary gangsta culture. The author takes a broad view, examining the way the criminal appears within and moves among literary, musical, and visual arts. He traces the legacy of badness in Rudolph Fisher and Chester Himes' detective fiction ... More

Keywords: Harlem Renaissance, gangsta, Rudolph Fisher, Chester Himes, Claude McKay, Julian Mayfield, Donald Goines, Peetie Wheatstraw, Oscar Micheaux, Ralph Cooper

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780226550350
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226550374.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jonathan Munby, author