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This article is about the term. For other uses, see Superspade (disambiguation).

Superspade is a term that has been used since the early 1900s to describe African Americans that were exceptionally gifted in different areas. The label was primarily given to athletes (e.g. Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali) and entertainers (e.g. Jimi Hendrix, Sidney Poitier). The term was used to capture "the essence of what was expected of black folks. They had to be sensational." (Behee 1974) It stems from the notion that in order to be recognized, accepted and successful, individuals who were black had to outperform their white counterparts.[citation needed]


  • Behee, John. Hail to the Victors! Ann Arbor: Ulrich’s Books, 1974.
  • Leab, Daniel J. From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975. ISBN 0-395-19402-4