Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership
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Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership

Edited by Peter Iver Kaufman and Kristin M.S. Bezio

Contributions to this book probe the contexts–both social and spiritual–from which select iconic figures emerge and discover how to present themselves as innovators and cultural leaders as well as draw material into forms that subsequent generations consider innovative or emblematic. The overall import of the book is to locate producers of culture such as authors, poets, singers, and artists as leaders both in their respective genres and of culture and society more broadly through the influence exerted by their works.
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Chapter 8: Billie Holiday and the discipline of progress

Tracy Fessenden

Abstract

In Chapter 8, Tracy Fessenden situates Billie Holiday within a context of proscription and oppression, a context which both constrained Holiday and was rejected by her. A black woman in early twentieth-century America, Holiday faced racial and gendered oppression and segregation, but her career as a jazz icon firmly denied the kinds of limitations that should otherwise have defined her identity.

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