Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

Blacks in Film and Television

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Diahann Carroll and her costars in the television sitcom, Julia

Courtesy of Photofest

In the 1950s, television shows such as The Nat "King" Cole Show, Beulah, and Amos 'n' Andy, featured black actors in leading roles but during the early 1960s the only black actors on television were playing supporting roles. But in 1968 Julia a new primetime show premiered that revolved around a black character, a black woman at that. It was the first time a television show featured a professional black woman. Diahann Carroll played the title role of a widowed nurse who worked for a gruff yet loveable white doctor and inhabited a mainly white world. The writers for Julia did attempt to address race in the show but mainly as running jokes showing how racism can put one in "humorous" situations. The depiction of simplified race relations proved to be tedious to both black and white viewers and the show was canceled after three years.

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