The Black Chicago Renaissance
Presenting early twentieth-century Chicago as a vital centerpiece of Black thought and expression
Beginning in the 1930s, Black Chicago experienced a cultural renaissance that lasted into the 1950s and rivaled the cultural outpouring of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The contributors to this volume analyze this prolific period of African American creativity in music, performance art, social science scholarship, and visual and literary artistic expression.
Like Harlem, Chicago had become a major destination for black southern migrants. Unlike Harlem, Chicago was also an urban industrial center that gave a unique working-class and internationalist perspective to the cultural work being done in Chicago. This collection's various essays discuss the forces that distinguished the Black Chicago Renaissance from the Harlem Renaissance and place the development of black culture in a national and international context. Contributors will also provoke explorations of renaissances in other cities. Among the topics discussed in this volume are Chicago writers Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright, The Chicago Defender and Tivoli Theater, African American music and visual arts, and the American Negro Exposition of 1940.
Contributors are Hilary Mac Austin, David T. Bailey, Murry N. DePillars, Samuel A. Floyd Jr., Erik S. Gellman, Jeffrey Helgeson, Darlene Clark Hine, John McCluskey Jr., Christopher Robert Reed, Elizabeth Schlabach, and Clovis E. Semmes.
"The book offers highly readable essays from scholars who tell stories about the artists—including some Harlem Renaissance ex-pats who came to Chicago—and the conditions that contributed to a major arts movement in the city that lasted for more than two decades."--Chicago Tribune
"This collection reveals that 1930s-50s Chicago had enough African American artists who were born, worked, or studied there—in the applied, performing, and recording arts, social sciences, and literature—to constitute a critical mass rivaling the earlier cultural exuberance of Harlem."--Choice
"A lively, useful anthology of ten critical essays on Chicago's remarkable upturn in black cultural politics and political culture at midcentury."--Journal of Illinois History
"This landmark anthology comprehensively gathers work on the Black Chicago Renaissance and ratifies that topic's ascendant stature within recent African American and American historical study. A tremendous achievement for its editors and contributors, and an indispensable scholarly resource for generations to come."--Adam Green, author of Selling the Race: Culture, Community, and Black Chicago, 1940–1955
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