Race in American Television
Voices and Visions That Shaped a Nation [2 volumes]
by David J. Leonard and Stephanie Troutman Robbins, Editors
January 2021, 805pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4305-1
$214, £165, 187€, A294
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4306-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The sitcom All in the Family (1971–1979) fundamentally changed the television landscape by making bigotry the central source and target of its humor.

This two-volume encyclopedia explores representations of people of color in American television. It includes overview essays on early, classic, and contemporary television and the challenges for, developments related to, and participation of minorities on and behind the screen.

Covering five decades, this encyclopedia highlights how race has shaped television and how television has shaped society. Offering critical analysis of moments and themes throughout television history, Race in American Television shines a spotlight on key artists of color, prominent shows, and the debates that have defined television since the civil rights movement. This book also examines the ways in which television has been a site for both reproduction of stereotypes and resistance to them, providing a basis for discussion about racial issues in the United States.

This set provides a significant resource for students and fans of television alike, not only educating but also empowering readers with the necessary tools to consume and watch the small screen and explore its impact on the evolution of racial and ethnic stereotypes in U.S. culture and beyond. Understanding the history of American television contributes to deeper knowledge and potentially helps us to better apprehend the plethora of diverse shows and programs on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other platforms today.


  • Offers accessible yet critical discussions of television culture
  • Provides historic understanding of the contributions of significant artists of color to the history of American television
  • Discusses a diversity of shows as well as debates and themes central to the history of American television
David J. Leonard is professor in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race at Washington State University, Pullman. He is author of several books, including Playing While White: Privilege and Power On and Off the Field (2017), and After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness (2012). He is coeditor, with Kishonna L. Gray, of Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Injustice (2018), and of African Americans on Television: Race-ing for Ratings and several other books.

Stephanie Troutman Robbins is assistant professor in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona. She is coauthor of Culture, Community, and Educational Success: Reimagining the Invisible Knapsack (2018). She is author of multiple academic articles that focus on race, class, gender, schooling, and popular culture. Her scholarship has appeared in books such as The Sexuality Curriculum and Youth Culture (2011) and Interrogating Critical Pedagogy: The Voices of People of Color in the Movement (2015).


LJ Best Reference of 2021—Library Journal, March 1, 2022


"This reference work offers a timely and needed perspective."—Booklist Online, May 14, 2021

"Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; students in two-year programs; general readers."—Choice, November 1, 2021
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