Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

9/1/2012 - 8/31/2013

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

A History of "Soul!", the First Nationally Televised Program to Showcase the Black Power Movement

FAIN: FA-56882-12

Gayle F. Wald
George Washington University (Washington, DC 20052-0001)

I am applying for an NEH Fellowship to complete a book, “It’s Been Beautiful”: Soul! and Black Power Television, currently under contract with Duke University Press. “It’s Been Beautiful” combines archival and secondary research with oral history to tell the story of Soul! (1968-73), a seminal yet understudied landmark in the history of American television. One of the earliest black-produced shows on TV, Soul! was the first nationally televised program to showcase cultural expressions of the Black Power movement. "It’s Been Beautiful" seeks to insert Soul! into the annals of television, where it is glaringly absent despite its popularity and significance. More profoundly, it uses Soul! to complicate and enrich our ideas about radicalism in culture and politics in the late 20th-century United States. The rise and demise of Soul is also a story of shifts in policy priorities in the wake of Civil Rights, shedding light on challenges that continue to confront public broadcasting today.

Media Coverage

It's Been Beautiful (Review)
Author(s): Pat Thomas
Publication: The Wire
Date: 8/1/2015
Abstract: A review of It's Been Beautiful

Review (Review)
Author(s): Bianca Gonzalez-Sobrino
Publication: Ethnic and Racial Studies
Date: 5/10/2016
Abstract: Review of It's Been Beautiful

Review (Review)
Author(s): Todd Steven Burroughs
Publication: Journal of Pan African Studies
Date: 9/1/2015
Abstract: Review

Review (Review)
Author(s): Aniko Bodroghkozy
Publication: History Teacher
Date: 9/1/2015
Abstract: Review

Review (Review)
Author(s): Matthew Delmont
Publication: Journal of American History
Date: 3/1/2016
Abstract: Review

Mr Soul! (Media Coverage)
Author(s): dir. Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard
Publication: documentary film
Date: 12/28/2018
Abstract: Featured in the documentary "Mr. Soul!," directed by Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard. Served as a member of advisory board to the film. Participated in a number of public events (talkbacks) about the film in 2018-2021.

Associated Products

It's Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television (Book)
Title: It's Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television
Author: Gayle Wald
Abstract: Soul! (1968-73) was a pioneering public television show that gave a platform to the politics, style, and performance of the Black Power era. It's Been Beautiful! documents Soul!'s emergence in 1968, its flowing, and its 1973 demise, when funding was cut by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Special attention is paid to musical performance on Soul!, as well as to the ways the show highlighted rifts and alliances within Black Power. The producer and frequent host of the show, Ellis Haizlip, is discussed, along with Soul! performers or guests such as Nikki Giovanni, Novella Nelson, Labelle, Curtis Mayfield, Louis Farrakhan, Amiri Baraka, Mongo Santamaría, Stokely Carmichael, and others.
Year: 2015
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Duke University Press website
Access Model: book purchase only
Publisher: Duke University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-0-8223-583
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes