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Yes, Elvis was a hip-swivelling musical icon but he was also a pioneer of progressive race relations

Mary Kenny


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Elvis Presley at a 1973 concert.

Elvis Presley at a 1973 concert.

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's new film. Photo: Deirdre Reynolds

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's new film. Photo: Deirdre Reynolds

Elvis Presley first dated his wife Priscilla when she was 14 and he was 10 years older. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

Elvis Presley first dated his wife Priscilla when she was 14 and he was 10 years older. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

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Elvis Presley at a 1973 concert.

If diversity is one of the key progressive themes of our age, then it’s probable that one of the pioneers of this idea is an unexpected one: Elvis Presley.

What? “Elvis the Pelvis”, whose hip-swivelling and gyrating were condemned by the New York Times as “unfit for family viewing”? Elvis, the rockabilly from Tupelo, Mississippi, with his sideburns and rhinestone costumes?


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