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Wayne Norman on the (Album) Art of Deception

Album covers haven't always given a true picture of the performer

When Wayne Norman got back into record collecting as an adult, something jarring stood out: LPs by Black artists in the ’50s and ’60s were marketed with white women on the covers instead of pictures of the artists themselves.

“This category, it helps us tell a story about the mechanisms of systemic racism within a society,” said Norman, the Mike and Ruth Mackowski Distinguished Professor of Ethics in Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics. “It’s a very vivid visual illustration of how an outrageous practice can hide in plain sight.”

Read Corbie Hill's DukeMag story from our Fall 2023 issue.