28 Jun:
Amos ‘n’ Andy ‘n’ the NAACP

America’s first programme to feature an all-black cast, Amos ‘n’ Andy premiered on CBS on June 28th, 1951. Despite being based on one of the most popular radio shows of all time, the series lasted only two years, following a barrage of criticism.

Although popular with many African-Americans, the show traded on ethnic caricatures, and the prejudices of its white creators. The NAACP mounted a formal protest almost immediately, describing the sitcom as “a gross libel of the Negro and distortion of the truth”, and, eventually, the Blatz Brewing Company withdrew its sponsorship, sounding the death knell for the production.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal how the radio incarnation itself faced the ire of African-American protestors; uncover President Truman’s involvement in casting decisions; and explain why it really should have been called ‘The Kingfish Show’…  

Content Warning: Blackface minstrelsy, racist language.

Further Reading:

• ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy’ in Video Debut’ (The New York Times, 1951): https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1951/07/01/89445865.html

• ‘Reflections on Black Image in Amos ‘n’ Andy’ (Abernathy Magazine): https://abernathymagazine.com/reflections-on-black-image-in-amos-n-andy/

• ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy: Amos Helps Out, colorized’ (CBS, 1951):

#50s #TV #Black #Racism