Hollywood be Thy Name: African American Religion in American Film, 1929-1949

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University of California Press, 2007 - Performing Arts - 341 pages
From the earliest years of sound film in America, Hollywood studios and independent producers of "race films" for black audiences created stories featuring African American religious practices. In the first book to examine how the movies constructed images of African American religion, Judith Weisenfeld explores these cinematic representations and how they reflected and contributed to complicated discourses about race, the social and moral requirements of American citizenship, and the very nature of American identity.

Drawing on such textual sources as studio production files, censorship records, and discussions and debates about religion and film in the black press, as well as providing close readings of films, this richly illustrated and meticulously researched book brings religious studies and film history together in innovative ways.
 

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Contents

1 Taint What You Was Its What You IsToday
19
2 De Lawd a Natchel Man
52
3 A Mighty Epic of Modern Morals
88
4 Saturday Sinners and Sunday Saints
130
5 A Long Long Way
163
6 Why Didnt They Tell Me Ima Negro?
204
Conclusion
235
Filmography
239
Notes
241
Select Bibliography
319
Index
331
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Judith Weisenfeld is Professor of Religion at Princeton University. She is the author of African American Women and Christian Activism: New York's Black YWCA, 1905-1945 and the coeditor of This Far By Faith: Readings in African American Women's Religious Biography.

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