Race, Mobility, and Fantasy: Afromobiling in Tropical Florida

Knight Lozano, Henry (2017) Race, Mobility, and Fantasy: Afromobiling in Tropical Florida. Journal of American Studies, 51 (3). pp. 805-831. ISSN 0021-8758

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021875816001018


This article explores a popular tourist vehicle in early twentieth century Florida: the Afromobile. Beginning in the 1890s, Afromobiling referred to the white tourist experience of travelling in a wheelchair propelled by an African American hotel employee in South Florida. Most prominent in Palm Beach, these wheelchairs developed into a heavily promoted tourist activity in the region. Using promotional imagery and literary sources this paper traces the development of Afromobiling as a tourist vehicle that played upon South Florida’s tropical environs. It argues that the vehicle’s popularity related to its enactment of benign racial hierarchy and controlled black mobility. Moreover, the Afromobile infused U.S. fantasies about South Florida as a tropical and ‘oriental’ paradise for white leisure.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: T700 American studies
V100 History by period
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Henry Knight Lozano
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2016 11:18
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 04:36
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/28572

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