UNC Professor Who Writes About the Struggle Lived It in Chapel Hill
Wouldn't it be great if Carolina had a professor of African-American history who actually lived through the civil rights struggles and the desegregation of the public schools?
Wouldn't be even better if that professor had grown up in the town where the university is located and experienced the tough adjustments that came with her move from an all-black school to an almost all-white school?
Wouldn't be even better if that person were going to be a guest on UNC-TV's "North Carolina Bookwatch" this Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m.?
All those wishes come true when Charlene Regester visits "Bookwatch" to talk about her book, "African American Actresses: The Struggle for Visibility, 1900-1960."
From "Birth of a Nation" in 1915 to Hattie McDaniel in "Gone With the Wind," to Ethel Waters in "Member of the Wedding" in 1952, African-American actresses made their way into American movies in the first half of the last century.
Regester's book tells the real stories of these women who became stars in a time of segregation and oppression.
Regester explains how each actress had to compromise and accommodate to the racial restrictions of the times. Their successes brought them out of the ghetto but not into the living rooms of their white promoters and fans.
Regester's own story, though underappreciated today, is an important part of North Carolina history. Thankfully, her story has been preserved by an oral history interview conducted by Susan Upton in 2001 and on file in the Southern Historical Collection.
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