About this Blog

"In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." So said the bleached-out, late lamented artist Andy Warhol. Having lived and worked in New York City, Warhol came to fully grasp the hold celebrity has on us. In this very famous sentence, he meant to point out that in a culture fixated on fame, many people will suddenly flash brightly onto the public screen, then--poof--will just as quickly disappear from public view--like shooting stars. Other individuals derive their celebrity from one stellar accomplishment (one hit song, one iconic role, etc.) that they never again match.

This blog is devoted to the one part of our celebrity culture that no one has written much about: temporary/one-shot celebrities.

The pace of modern life has quickened, and now we hear people speaking of someone's 15 seconds of fame. These "celebrities with a lower-case c" who will appear in this blog sometimes come to us from the world of entertainment, sometimes from the world of news. All are fascinating.

The need of our communications media for a continual stream of new material assures that we will have no end of colorful people who go quickly, where celebrity is concerned, from zero to hero (or villain) and back to zero. Now you see 'em, now you don't. What a crazy world, eh?

Temporary celebrities coming from the world of entertainment include one-hit recording artists; TV and movie icons who, although they might have had a great many accomplishments in their career, are remembered for one big role; standouts of reality TV; sports figures remembered for one remarkable accomplishment; and people whose celebrity came from one big role in a commercial or print ad.

News-based temporary celebrities come in many forms: mass/serial killers, other murderers of special note, sex-crime offenders, disgraced figures of government/military/business/media/religion, spies/traitors, hoaxers, femmes/hommes fatale, heroes, whistle blowers, inventors/innovators, and victims.

Celebrity Blogsburg will consider each category in turn.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hero Autherine Lucy

Older Americans who long have kept up with the news will likely recall this unusual name. It belongs to one of the iconic figures in the story of U.S. civil rights.

Autherine Juanita Lucy was born the daughter of an Alabama farmer. A bright child, she received a B.A. in English from all-black Miles College in her home state and then decided to apply to graduate school at the University of Alabama.

Before applying, she lined up support from the NAACP. That organization assigned her three lawyers, most prominent of whom was future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The university accepted her as a master's student in library science in 1956.Three days after she arrived on campus, riots began, lasting three days and forcing her to leave school for safety from the howling mob. The university's board of trustees ordered her not to return so that order could be restored, but this order was overruled in court. Then the board expelled her.

Lucy's experience generated a lot of sympathy elsewhere, and she had offers of a free education in Europe, which she declined.

Later that year, she moved to Texas, married the Rev. Hugh Foster, her old flame from undergraduate years, and eventually became a school teacher.

Much later, in 1992, Lucy finally got her master's in education at the University of Alabama, where by this time she was a famous and well received person.

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