Hurston/Wright Foundation | Donald Bogle
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Donald Bogle

Donald Bogle

BOOKS AVAILABLE IN H/W BOOKSTORE

Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams

Donald Bogle

Biography

Donald Bogle is a film historian and author of six books concerning African Americans in film and on television. He is an instructor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and at the University of Pennsylvania. Bogle grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and graduated from Lincoln University in 1966. As a child, he spent a lot of time watching television and going to the movies. He wondered why there were very few African-American characters. He also wondered what happened to the Black characters when they went off-screen. Bogle’s first book, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks: An Interpretative History of Blacks in Films, was published in 1973. In it, he identified five basic stereotypical film roles available to African-American actors and actresses: the servile, avuncular “tom”; the simple-minded and cowardly “coon”; the tragic, and usually female, mulatto; the fat, dark-skinned “mammy”; and the irrational, hypersexual male “buck”. In the second edition of the book, Bogle identified a sixth stereotype: the sidekick, who is usually asexual. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks was awarded the 1973 Theatre Library Association Award. Bogle published Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television in 2001. In it, he argued that television lags behind film in reflecting the social realities of African Americans. Bogle’s next book, Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood, was published in 2005. It tells the story of African-American actors and actresses in the film industry during the first half of the 20th century. In 2011, Bogle published Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters, which examines the personal and professional life of singer and stage performer, Ethel Waters.

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