Editor's Picks

Arts & Humanities

'The Golden Age of Black Radio' shines during Black History Month

Feb. 17, 2016

February is more than halfway over, but IU is ensuring that it celebrates Black History Month to the fullest.

Jockey Jack

IU's Archives of African American Music and Culture collections include many historic images of radio personalities, including this photo of “Jockey Jack” Gibson riding the turntable. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARCHIVES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC AND CULTURE

In addition to the many other events on campus, IU’s Archives of African American Music and Culture has partnered with Google Cultural Institute to share the history of black culture that came through the radio airwaves.

The Golden Age of Black Radio,” an online multimedia exhibition, launched Feb. 1. Hosted by the Google Cultural Institute, the exhibition shares hundreds of photographs, videos and short podcasts paired with details on the triumphs and tribulations of the transition to integrated airwaves.

The online exhibition is broken down into four segments, each with a focus on the depth, substance and impact that black-oriented radio has had on American culture since the 1920s. Part one focuses on the early years of black-oriented radio in Chicago,  while part two homes in on the African American personality disc jockeys who revolutionized the sound of  radio with their distinct voices, messages of empowerment and promotion of black music. The third part of the exhibit focuses on community engagement, while the final section addresses gender equality and the role of radio during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

“The Golden Age of Black Radio” draws from collections donated to the Archives of African American Music and Culture by Jacquie Gales Webb, a popular gospel DJ and the award-winning producer of the groundbreaking 1996 radio series, “Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was.” Gales Webb will be giving a public lecture March 9 at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. An exhibit focusing on her accomplishments in radio is on display in the Neal-Marshall’s Bridgwater Lounge through March 11.

The Archives of African American Music and Culture will continue to enrich the community with its celebration of black radio  throughout the semester.  

On Feb. 13, to commemorate UNESCO’s World Radio Day, the historic 1968 radio series “What Must Be Done: Where Are We Today in Black-White Relations?” was made publicly available via IU Media Collections Online. Moderated by pioneering civil rights attorney Percy E. Sutton, the 13-part series examined the conditions faced by African Americans.

Another unique guest lecturer, Deborah Smith Pollard, will come to the Neal-Marshall on April 6. Currently host/producer of the gospel music program "Rhythm and Praise with Deborah Smith Pollard" on MIX 92.3 FM Detroit, she is also director of African and African American studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. 

Read more Arts & Humanities stories »