The Nicest Kids in Town

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-02-22
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr

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American Bandstand,one of the most popular television shows ever, broadcast from Philadelphia in the late fifties, a time when that city had become a battleground for civil rights. Counter to host Dick Clark's claims that he integrated American Bandstand,this book reveals how the first national television program directed at teens discriminated against black youth during its early years and how black teens and civil rights advocates protested this discrimination. Matthew F. Delmont brings together major themes in American history--civil rights, rock and roll, television, and the emergence of a youth culture--as he tells how white families around American Bandstand'sstudio mobilized to maintain all-white neighborhoods and how local school officials reinforced segregation long after Brown vs. Board of Education. The Nicest Kids in Townpowerfully illustrates how national issues and history have their roots in local situations, and how nostalgic representations of the past, like the musical film Hairspray,based on the American Bandstandera, can work as impediments to progress in the present.

Author Biography

Jay Mechling, author of on My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth Matthew F. Delmont is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Scripps College.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Making Philadelphia Safe for "WFIL-adelphia"
Television, Housing, and Defensive Localism in Bandstand's Backyardp. 11
They Shall Be Heard
Local Television as a Civil Rights Battlegroundp. 50
The de Facto Dilemma
Fighting Segregation in Philadelphia Public Schoolsp. 68
From Little Rock to Philadelphia
Making de Facto School Segregation a Media Issuep. 101
The Rise of Rock and Roll in Philadelphia
Georgie Woods, Mitch Thomas, Dick Clarkp. 126
"They'll Be Rockin' on Bandstand, in Philadelphia, P.A."
Imagining National Youth Culture on American Bandstandp. 157
Remembering American Bandstand, Forgetting Segregationp. 180
Still Boppin' on Bandstand
American Dreams, Hairspray, and American Bandstand in the 2000sp. 195
Everybody Knows about American Bandstandp. 223
Notesp. 229
Indexp. 283
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