For the Records: How African American Consumers and Music Retailers Created Commercial Public Space in the 1960s and 1970s South

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For the Records: How African American Consumers and Music Retailers Created Commercial Public Space in the 1960s and 1970s South

by Joshua Clark Davis
Southern Cultures, Vol. 17, No. 4: Music

"Record selling certainly had its glamorous moments; retailers could regale younger customers with stories of nightlife and even rubbing elbows with famous musicians and celebrities."

Records is a market that can be used to brighten the future of lots of black people with jobs and higher prestige all over the country,” Jimmy Liggins announced in 1976 to the readers of the Carolina Times, Durham, North Carolina’s most prominent African American newspaper. Liggins, a minor rhythm and blues star of the 1950s, was publicizing his Duplex National Black Gold Record Pool, headquartered in Durham, which sought to “help and assist black people to own and sell the music and talent blacks produce.” With the aid of this “self helping program,” aspiring hit-makers could record and release music that Black Gold sold through mail order and at Liggins’s shop, Snoopy’s Records, in downtown Durham.