Elvis, Martin, and Mentors: The Making of Southern History in Britain

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Elvis, Martin, and Mentors: The Making of Southern History in Britain

by Brian Ward
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 4: The South in the World

"How the British have mined popular culture to make sense of the South."

At the end of 1997, a series of advertisements for a new “One-2-One” mobile telephone service began to appear on televisions and in cinemas around Britain. Most of these adverts took the form of a British celebrity explaining why he or she would especially like the opportunity to have a one-to-one conversation with a particular figure from history. Two of the first three featured icons from the modern South. Supermodel Kate Moss chose a young Elvis Presley, cinematically embalmed in his 1956 pomp. Ian Wright, a black England soccer player at the forefront of a national “Kick It Out” campaign to end racism on the terraces, chose Martin Luther King Jr.

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