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Jumping the BroomThe Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual$
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Tyler D. Parry

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469660868

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469660868.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

No Expression as Prevalent

No Expression as Prevalent

Civil Rights, Black Power, and Alex Haley’s Roots

(p.120) Chapter Six No Expression as Prevalent
Jumping the Broom

Tyler D. Parry

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 6 revolves around the cultural impact of African American novelist Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family in the late-twentieth century. It specifically examines how the novel and miniseries built upon a pre-existing interest among Black Americans seeking to reconnect with their cultural heritage, though the widescale impact of Haley’s work produced a much more robust examination of slavery’s role in US history among readers and viewers of Roots, and it introduced a method through which descendants of the enslaved might approach that era of history. Ultimately, it argues that Roots’ widespread popularity secured its position in the popular culture of Black Americans and revived a number of discarded customs, including the broomstick wedding. This marital tradition was even highlighted in a controversial plagiarism case made against Haley by the novelist Margaret Walker, whose book Jubilee had also referenced the tradition a decade before. However, alongside Roots immense popularity, popular magazines like Ebony and Jet helped institute a rise in Afrocentric marital practices by the 1980s, and “jumping the broom” started to gain many different meanings and associations as it acquired a larger number of practitioners as Americans entered the 1990s.

Keywords:   Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Jubilee, Margaret Walker, Alex Haley, Ebony (Magazine), Jet (Magazine), Cultural heritage, Tradition, History, “Jumping the broom”

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