Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South

Overview

From the South's pageant queens to the importance of beauty parlors to African American communities, it is easy to see the ways beauty is enmeshed in southern culture. But as Blain Roberts shows in this incisive work, the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to the tumultuous racial divides of the region, where the Jim Crow-era cosmetics industry came of age selling the idea of makeup that emphasized whiteness, and where, in the 1950s and 1960s, black-owned beauty shops served as crucial sites of resistance ...

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Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South

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Overview

From the South's pageant queens to the importance of beauty parlors to African American communities, it is easy to see the ways beauty is enmeshed in southern culture. But as Blain Roberts shows in this incisive work, the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to the tumultuous racial divides of the region, where the Jim Crow-era cosmetics industry came of age selling the idea of makeup that emphasized whiteness, and where, in the 1950s and 1960s, black-owned beauty shops served as crucial sites of resistance for civil rights activists. By showing how battles over beauty came to a head during the civil rights movement, Roberts sheds new light on the tactics southerners used to resist and achieve desegregation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Roberts] provides a well-researched and engaging account of beauty, both as a weighty prescription and a tool used by women to widen their spaces of living despite white dominance and patriarchy."—Women's Review of Books

"Roberts's compelling narrative challenges historians to integrate the pursuit of beauty in their examinations of race and politics in the modern South."—The Southern Register

"Roberts has chosen to look at many of the issues of the 20th century through the intimate world of women's beauty regimens and the public world of beauty pageants."—American Press

"The good, the bad and the lovely."—Chicago Tribune Printers Row Journal

"Roberts uncovers the toils and economic effects of feminine beauty in the South during the 1950s and '60s."—Ebony

A Notable African-American Title—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469614205
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 3/17/2014
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 148,468
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Blain Roberts is assistant professor of history at California State University, Fresno.

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Table of Contents


From the South's pageant queens to the importance of beauty parlors to African American communities, it is easy to see the ways beauty is enmeshed in southern culture. But as Blain Roberts shows in this incisive work, the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to the tumultuous racial divides of the region, where the Jim Crow-era cosmetics industry came of age selling the idea of makeup that emphasized whiteness, and where, in the 1950s and 1960s, black-owned beauty shops served as crucial sites of resistance for civil rights activists. By showing how battles over beauty came to a head during the civil rights movement, Roberts sheds new light on the tactics southerners used to resist and achieve desegregation.
Read More Show Less

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