Black Women’s Political Power, the End of Sears, and Corporate Art Patronage
Past Present Episode 151
In this episode, Natalia, Neil, Niki, and guest historian Leah Wright Rigueur discuss black women and electoral politics, the closing of Sears, and corporate art patronage.
Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
- Black women voters are a crucial electoral contingent, especially in the upcoming midterm elections. We spoke with Dr. Leah Wright Rigueur, author of The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power, about black women’s voting power today and in the past. Niki referenced Rachel Devlin’s book A Girl Stands at the Door, and Leah recommended Brittney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage, Ashley Farmer’s Remaking Black Power, Danielle McGuire’s At the Dark End of the Street, and Keisha Blain’s Set the World on Fire, as all good books for better understanding the long history of black women’s political activism.
- Sears is closing its doors for good. Natalia mentioned historian Louis Hyman’s viral Twitter thread on how the Sears catalog created opportunities for African Americans to shop during Jim Crow. She also recommended historian Lizabeth Cohen’s book A Consumer’s Republic and historian David K. Johnson’s forthcoming book Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked A Movement.
- We discussed how although art patronage is nothing new, 2018’s unapologetically corporate branding of art feels unprecedented.
In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
- Natalia recommended Jessica Wilkerson’s Longreads article, “Living With Dolly Parton.”
- Neil shared the news that Judy Blume’s book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is being turned into a movie.
- Niki discussed W. David Marx’s Vox article, “An American campaign tee is trendy in Asia. Its popularity has nothing to do with the US.”