I Heard It Through the Grapevine explores how rumors that run rife in African-American communities, concerning such issues as AIDS, the Ku Klux Klan and FBI conspiracies, translate white oppression into folk warnings, and are used by the community to respond to a hostile dominant culture.
I Heard It Through the Grapevine Rumor in African-American Culture
About the Book
"A feast for those interested in historical and modern black folklore. . . . Engaging."—Chicago Tribune
"Illuminating. . . . Although [Turner] deals primarily with some seemingly preposterous rumors circulating among blacks in the United States, her book demonstrates how and exemplary case study of folklore can reveal the positive side of these seemingly damaging rumors. Moreover, her work opens up new perspectives on black culture."—New York Times
"A necessary addition to studies of African-American culture, with insights for all races into the effects of oppression and misunderstanding."—Boston Globe
"A feast for those interested in historical and modern black folklore and for both supporters and critics of conspiracy theory."—Quarterly Black Review of Books
"Fascinating. . . . Turner explores the origins of rumors, how they spread and their sometimes devastating effect. . . as she examines everything from Atlanta child murders to Liz Claiborne's designer clothes, Kool and Marlboro cigarets, Reebok footwear and Troop sportswear."—San Francisco Chronicle
"A compelling read. . . . Through sleuth-like research of rumor and myth in African-American culture, Turner uncovers perhaps the biggest conspiracy of all: centuries of systematic racism in the United States. She traces the history of black folklore in this country from the moment the first slave ships arrived to the present day, repeatedly providing powerful evidence that the African-American fear of white America is not simply unfounded cultural paranoia."—L.A. Reader Review
"Entertaining and absorbing. . . . Information that blacks and whites have about one another is largely based upon rumors. Turner's monumental work traces the origins of rumors that have often fomented tragedies in race relations since the early encounters between Europeans and Africans."—Ishmael Reed, author of Japanese by SpringRead More >
Table of Contents
1. Cannibalism: "They doe eat each other alive"
2. Corporal Control: "They want to beat us, burn us,
whatever they can do"
3· Conspiracy I: "They ... the KKK ... did it"
4. Conspiracy II: "They ... the powers that
be ... want to keep us down"
5· Contamination: "They want to do more than just
6. Consumer/Corporate Conflict: "They won't get me to
7· Crack: "See, they want us to take all of those drugs"
8. Conclusion: From Cannibalism to Crack
Epilogue: Continuing Concerns