Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dick Clark and the integration of 'American Bandstand'

"Most of the obituaries of Clark, who took over Bandstand in 1956, have noted that the show used rock and roll to break down racial barriers, mostly because that is the story Clark told. But that is where his legacy gets complicated. While the nationally televised dance program hosted a number of prominent black performers, the show regularly blocked black teenagers from its studio audience until it moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 1964. The image of teenagers that American Bandstand popularized bore little resemblance to the racial diversity of American teens."

Matthew F. Delmont, writing in the Washington Post, April 22, 2012. Read the rest of the article here.

"Viewers would have had little idea that African Americans made up nearly 30 percent of Philadelphia's population in this era or that black teens developed many of the dances that American Bandstand popularized nationally."

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