Harlem Nights

Deirdre O'Connell

$34.99 Paperback
In Stock

The 1920s were a time of wonder and flux, when Australians sensed a world growing smaller, turning faster - and, for some, skittering off balance. American movies, music and dance brought together what racial lines kept apart. A spirit of youthful rebellion collided with the promise of racial perfectibility, stirring deep anxieties in white nationalists and moral reformers. African-American jazz represented the type of modernism that cosmopolitan Australians craved - and the champions of White Australia feared.
Enter Sonny Clay's Colored Idea. Snuck in under the wire by an astute promoter, the Harlem-style revue broke from the usual blackface minstrel fare, delivering sophisticated, liberating rhythms. The story of their Australian tour is a tale of conspiracy - a secret plan to kick out and keep out 'undesirable' expressions of modernism, music and race. From the wild jazz clubs of Prohibition-era LA to Indigenous women discovering a new world of black resistance, this anatomy of a scandal-fuelled frame-up brings into focus a vibrant cast of characters from Australia's Jazz Age.

ISBN: 9780522877649
Publication Date: 02-Nov-2021
Publisher: Melbourne University Publishing