THE SEARCH FOR ANTI-RACIAL EXOTICISM : BLACK LEISURE TRAVEL, THE CARIBBEAN, AND COLD WAR POLITICS, 1954-1961
AuthorRodrigue, Matthew M.
AdvisorImmerman, Richard H.
Committee memberSchmidt, Arthur, 1943-
SubjectHistory, United States
History, Latin American
History of Tourism
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/2253
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AbstractBy the mid-1950s leisure travel became both a new arena in the civil rights movement as well as a tactic in that struggle. Middle class African Americans felt their travel (both domestic and international) constituted both a critique of race relations at home and a realization of their rights as citizens. Alongside this development, I argue, was the proliferation of black travel columns and travel ads that simultaneously upheld the Caribbean as a model of racial progressivism while reinforcing its status as an exotic location dedicated to the pleasure of American tourists. By 1960 this ostensibly apolitical movement became politicized when ex-boxer Joe Louis met resistance from the mainstream press after promoting Fidel Castro's Cuba as a black American playground. In this second section I argue that the scandal surrounding Louis' PR campaign was revelatory of white unease regarding the transnational racial/political connections being forged between a selection of African Americans and Castro, thus constituting the story as yet another episode in the entangled development of the Cold War and the civil rights movement.
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