I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture

Front Cover
University of California Press, 1993 - Social Science - 260 pages
This book divides into two basic parts. In Chapters 1 and 2 I discuss historical examples of "rumor" discourse and suggest whey many blacks have--for good reason--channeled beliefs about race relations into familiar formulae, ones developed as early as the time of the first contact between sub-Saharan Africans and European white. Then in Chapters 3-7 it explores the continuation of these issues in late-twentieth-century African-American rumors and contemporary legends, using examples collected in the field. Because Turner was able to monitor these contemporary legends as they unfolded and played themselves out, rigorous analysis was possible. What follows, then, is an examination of the themes common to these contemporary items and related historical ones, and an explanation for their persistence. Concerns about conspiracy, contamination, cannibalism, and castration--perceived threats to individual black bodies, which are then translated into animosity toward the race as a whole--run through nearly four hundred years of black contemporary legend material and prove remarkable tenacious. 
 

What people are saying - Write a review

I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

User Review  - Kirkus

Fried chicken will make you sterile; the FBI killed Martin Luther King, Jr.; the ``powers that be'' facilitated the crack epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, and the murders of black children in Atlanta ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
They doe eat each other alive
9
They want to beat us burn
33
They the KKK did it
57
They the powers that
108
They want to do more than just
137
They wont get me
165
See they want us to take all of those drugs
180
From Cannibalism to Crack
202
Continuing Concerns
221
Notes
229
Bibliography
245
Index
255
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1993)

Patricia A. Turner is Professor of African-American and African Studies at the University of California at Davis and the author of Ceramic Uncles & Celluloid Mammies: Black Images and Their Influence on Culture (1994).

Bibliographic information