"A terrific piece of work—creative, imaginative, well written. Jump for Joy is the sort of book that should end up on the reading list of courses in American cultural history, African American studies, music and dance. It is also the sort of book that should reach an audience outside the academy.—Shane White, coauthor of Stylin': African American Expressive
Culture, from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit
""African American expressive culture of the 1930s deserves to be as well known as Harlem Renaissance literature. Gena Caponi-Tabery reveals how new opportunities for black artists and athletes during the Black Migration—at sites as diverse as colleges, urban dance halls, and Olympic track-meets—led to an explosion of achievement and innovation. Her synthetic study will forever transform our understanding of Depression-era American culture, and her clear, accessible prose makes this book perfect for the undergraduate classroom.""—Joel Dinerstein, author of Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African American Culture between the World Wars
""Any college-level library strong in either music history or black culture needs this.""—Midwest Book Review
""Caponi-Tabery forces scholars to consider intersections among sports, music and dance, as well as their broader implications. She writes with clarity and enthusiasm, and she has identified an important moment in black public life. Her book is a vital contribution to the history of African American popular culture.""—American Studies
""Titled after the Duke Ellington revue of 1941, Caponi-Tabery’s book explores boundary testing in the arenas of culture and race during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The high-flying jitterbuggers on the dance floor and free-form basketball, sometimes occurring in the same place and time, reflected efforts by black Americans to test the limits of the times. The interaction between music, dance, and basketball provided a means of self-expression even as larger issues were being tested and challenged. Under the leadership of A. Phillip Randolph, the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters was making headway in the labor world, and Joe Louis and Jesse Owens also pushed against boundaries in the sports world. Caponi-Tabery interweaves the symbolic liberation of music and dance with the more serious work of achieving racial equality. Although focused on entertainment and quite entertaining, this is a serious historical and cultural work that deals with the racial climate of the era.""—Booklist"