AASP202-Final Paper

AASP202-Final Paper - Matt Hines AASP202 ID: 110601142...

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Matt Hines Final Paper AASP202 ID: 110601142 Section 0103 Examining the cultural production of a society allows one to understand the consciousness of the everyday members of that society. In particular, analyzing Ivan Dixon’s “The Spook Who Sat by the Door”, an adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s novel by the same title, and the historical context from which the movie arose from can provide great insight into the consciousness of Black America in the 1970s. The complex consciousness of everyday Black America in the 1970s can best be understood by first examining the historical and cultural context from which it manifests. The black rhetoric and plan for social, economic, and political betterment encapsulated in the Civil Rights Movement is often times in direct conflict with the ideologies of the black power movement that became popular in the late 1960s leading into the 1970s. In short, the mainstream Civil Rights rhetoric encouraged black progress and advancement within the already established, predominantly white dominated, societal structure. Events such as the Brown v. Board of Ed decision, the Freedom rides, and numerous student sit- ins exemplify the era’s (which began in the 1950s lasting through the mid 1960s) integrationist goals attained through nonviolent means. (Deburg 16-17) An excerpt from Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” sums up these attitudes when he says, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” However, a growing number of African-Americans grew increasingly impatient and dissatisfied with the movement’s “means and ends.” Deindustrialization following World War II left many black working class members in an increasingly worse state. Beginning in the 1950s, members of the black industrial working class faced “displacement, expanding poverty, and increased dependency on public assistance…” 2
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Matt Hines Final Paper AASP202 ID: 110601142 Section 0103 (Kelley 78) Discontent with the Civil Rights movement began to manifest when the worsening conditions of the black poor were not addressed. Robin Kelley, in his book “Race Rebels” writes, “Very few official civil rights leaders recognized or responded to deindustrialization in the 1950s and early 1960s, nor were they necessarily knowledgeable about or sensitive to the specific problems, needs and desires of the poor.” (Kelley 78) Thus, the black working poor responded to its disconnect with the mainstream civil rights movement by resisting in their own ways. The Birmingham riots in the spring of 1963 represented a culmination of black poor dissatisfaction. In the midst of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) peaceful demonstrations, the city’s young urban dwellers resisted “on their own terms.” On one spring night,
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AASP202-Final Paper - Matt Hines AASP202 ID: 110601142...

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