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The Dawning of the Black New South: A Geo-Political, Social, and Cultural History of Black Atlanta, Georgia, 1966-1996

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Title: The Dawning of the Black New South: A Geo-Political, Social, and Cultural History of Black Atlanta, Georgia, 1966-1996
Author(s): Hobson, Maurice J.
Director of Research: Anderson, James D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Anderson, James D.; Roediger, David R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Dash, Leon D.; Lang, Clarence E.; Span, Christopher M.
Department / Program: History
Discipline: History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children Black New South Black Political Empowerment Black Electoral Politics Political Economy Olympification
Abstract: This dissertation seeks to provide an intraracial narrative history of African American politics and class tensions in Atlanta, Georgia from 1966, the year when black power movement forces emerged and helped to elect Maynard H. Jackson as Atlanta’s mayor to the 1996 Centennial Olympiad. Also, this study is an ambitious attempt to cultivate a newly emerging field called Black New South Studies, which, in many ways, parallels the field of African American Studies. Its research interests focus on the experiences of African Americans in the South with national and international implications as seen through a post-Civil Rights context. Grounded in primary sources, including extended interviews with black Atlantans and analyses of popular culture texts, this study grapples with the historiography of the new African American Urban History, African American Folk Culture and Resistance, and Hip Hop by charting various manifestations seen through the city’s rise from regional center to global commercial city. Indeed, Atlanta is a City representing the highest educational, political, and economic aspirations and achievements of African Americans over the past century and yet home to some of the roughest and most destitute black ghettos in the South and nation. As such it represents various interconnections and interactions between diverse black populations within the urban New South. The city’s old and powerful black middle class, along with a powerful white business elite, have long shaped New South politics. Yet in the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the majority of Atlanta’s black communities remained in abject poverty and gave way to some of the harshest socio-economic conditions in America at the behest of black city administrators. An important aspect of this dissertation rejects Atlanta’s “black Mecca” status. In doing so, a major dimension of this particular transformation is the role of Hip Hop culture as a counter-narrative to the evolution of Atlanta as a world-class commercial center. Specifically, the Dirty South Hip Hop Movement, manifested in such groups as OutKast and Goodie Mob, cultivated a counter movement that portrayed the experiences of the poor and homeless in Atlanta’s black ghettoes as the underbelly of Atlanta’s rise to world fame and fortune. The music and lyrics demonstrate the inherent tensions within Atlanta’s black community as the city rose to newly found prestige and status provided these artists.
Issue Date: 2010-01-06
Rights Information: Copyright 2009 Maurice J. Hobson
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-01-06
Date Deposited: December 2

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