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Synopsis

Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement explores the crucial role of network television in reconfiguring new attitudes in race relations during the civil rights movement. Due to widespread coverage, the civil rights revolution quickly became the United States' first televised major domestic news story. This important medium unmistakably influenced the ongoing movement for African American empowerment, desegregation, and equality. Aniko Bodroghkozy brings to the foreground network news treatment of now-famous civil rights events including the 1965 Selma voting rights campaign, integration riots at the University of Mississippi, and the March on Washington, including Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech. She reveals how TV executives worked through the ethical dilemmas they faced, how reporters and camera operators dealt with very real dangers of reporting events, how reports were constructed and aired to support integration, and how interviews were selected to project an image of a South ready for change. Television networks also looked to the entertainment industry to address the question of race relations, as prime-time comedies and dramas could no longer ignore the changes in American life. Bodroghkozy examines the most high-profile and controversial television series of the era to feature African American actors-- East Side/West Side, Julia, and Good Times --to reveal how entertainment programmers sought to represent a rapidly shifting consensus on what blackness and whiteness meant and how they now fit together.

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