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Despite Rep for Integration, TV's Iconic "American Bandstand" Kept Black Teens Off Its Stage

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Published on Mar 2, 2012

democracynow.org - Last month the pioneering TV broadcaster Don Cornelius died at the age of 75. As the host of "Soul Train," many obituaries described Cornelius as the "African-American Dick Clark," the legendary host of the popular TV show, "American Bandstand," from 1956 to 1989. Clark claimed the show, which was originally hosted in West Philadelphia before moving to Hollywood, was "one of the first integrated shows on national television." But a newly published book challenges this history, and reveals new details about how the show discriminated against black youth during its early years. "This is a story about civil rights, about segregation in the North," says Matthew Delmont, author of "Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia." "They did not have a formal policy that said, 'No blacks allowed' ... they had a host of very underhanded techniques they would use to keep black teens off the show."

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