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Black Beauties: African American Pageant Queens in the Segregated South

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In 1984, Vanessa Williams broke the race barrier to become Miss America, but she was not the first Black woman to wear a pageant crown.


Black beauty pageants created a distinctive and celebrated cultural tradition during some of the most dismal times in the country's racial history. With the rise of the civil rights and Black Pride movements, pageantry also represented a component of social activism. Professor Kimberly Pellum explores this glamourous and profound history with contributions by dozens of former contestants who share their personal experiences.


ISBN-13: 9781467144827

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: History Press

Publication Date: 02-03-2020

Pages: 144

Product Dimensions: 8.90h x 6.00w x 0.30d

Series: American Heritage

Pellum Phd, Kimberly Brown: - With a terminal degree in United States history from Howard University, Dr. Kimberly Brown Pellum specializes in the history of women's images, southern culture and the Black Freedom Struggle. Her contributions to publicly accessible history include work at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, the Rosa Parks Museum and Google's Arts & Culture series. She is the director of the digital archives project The Museum of Black Beauty (TheMuseumofBlackBeauty.com) and serves as a member of the history faculty at Florida A&M University.