Once rare wonders of the world targeted by giant apes, skyscrapers have become an indelible aspect of the urban experience. Their majesty inspires local pride, their beauty elicits amazement, and their daring/obnoxious designs spark debate. No city is more identified with its skyline than Chicago. From the years following the Great Fire, the City That Works built towers meant to cast shadows on the gates of Valhalla itself.

Featuring over 100 photos and illustrations, Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934 reveals how burned out ruins on a drained swamp became a glittering monument to human vision, human labor, and better building materials. The Wrigley Building. Tribune Tower. The Stock Exchange. Could Chicago be Chicago without them? Thomas Leslie reveals the daily struggles, technical breakthroughs, and negotiations that produced these magnificent buildings. He also considers how the city’s infamous political climate contributed to its architecture.

RegaladoF12Baseball had been a popular pastime in Japanese American communities for years prior to World War Two. When the incarceration of people of Japanese descent finally ended, players and fans returned to their leagues, particularly in California and Hawaii. Japan, having already adopted the game before the war, embraced it anew. San Francisco Giants pitcher Masanori Murakami became the first Japan-born player to make the big leagues. The twenty year old debuted fifty-one years ago today, on September 1, 1964.

In Nikkei BaseballSamuel O. Regalado tells the story of the Japanese American pioneer who helped facilitate Murakami’s time with the Giants. Tsueno “Cappy” Harada’s involvement with the game went back to his childhood in Santa Maria, California. His play brought attention from the St. Louis Cardinals. Then the war began.

Like many other Nisei, Harada enlisted in the military and was assigned to the army intelligence division in the Pacific Theater, where he saw some action and was twice wounded. Harada remained with the forces occupying Japan, and General Douglas MacArthur, who was in charge of the occupation, handed him the task of initiating sports programs. Harada’s position made him an instrumental figure in Japanese baseball fortunes. In step with the kengakudan of his heritage, the Santa Maria native, along with Lefty O’Doul, the popular manager of the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals, arranged several baseball goodwill tours, one of which included celebrities like Joe DiMaggio and his wife, the actress Marilyn Monroe.

By the 1960s and no longer in the military, he remained active in baseball circles. In 1964 Harada helped engineer the signing of Japan’s first entry into the Major League, pitcher Masanori Murakami, who joined the San Francisco Giants later that season. One year later, the minor league Lodi Crushers of the California League hired Harada as its general manager, the first Japanese American to be named to such a post.

For the month of September 2015, to coincide with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History annual meeting September 23-27 in Atlanta, we have lowered the eBook list price of three titles in the University of Illinois Press catalog to $2.99.

Cover for Schlabach: Along the Streets of Bronzeville: Black Chicago's Literary Landscape. Click for larger imageAlong the Streets of Bronzeville: Black Chicago’s Literary Landscape by Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach
Poverty stricken, segregated, and bursting at the seams with migrants, Bronzeville was the community that provided inspiration, training, and work for an entire generation of diversely talented African American authors and artists who came of age during the years between the two world wars. In this significant recovery project, Elizabeth Schlabach investigates the institutions and streetscapes of Black Chicago that fueled an entire literary and artistic movement. She argues that African American authors and artists—such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, painter Archibald Motley, and many others—viewed and presented black reality from a specific geographic vantage point: the view along the streets of Bronzeville. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for armfield: Eugene Kinckle Jones: The National Urban League and Black Social Work, 1910-1940. Click for larger imageEugene Kinckle Jones: The National Urban League and Black Social Work, 1910-1940 by Felix L. Armfield
A leading African American intellectual of the early twentieth century, Eugene Kinckle Jones (1885–1954) was instrumental in professionalizing black social work in America. In his role as executive secretary of the National Urban League, Jones worked closely with social reformers who advocated on behalf of African Americans and against racial discrimination in the United States. Coinciding with the Great Migration of African Americans to northern urban centers in the early twentieth century, Jones’s activities on behalf of the Urban League included campaigning for equal hiring practices, advocating for the inclusion of black workers in labor unions, and promoting the importance of vocational training and social work for members of the black community. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for DOLINAR: The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers. Click for larger image
The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers Edited by Brian Dolinar
Headed by Harlem Renaissance poet Arna Bontemps and white proletarian writer Jack Conroy, The Negro in Illinois employed major black writers living in Chicago during the 1930s, including Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Katherine Dunham, Fenton Johnson, Frank Yerby, and Richard Durham. The authors chronicled the African American experience in Illinois from the beginnings of slavery to Lincoln’s emancipation and the Great Migration. After the project was canceled in 1942, most of the writings went unpublished for more than half a century—until now. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for GILL: Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry. Click for larger imageBeauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry by Tiffany M. Gill
Looking through the lens of black business history, Beauty Shop Politics shows how black beauticians in the Jim Crow era parlayed their economic independence and access to a public community space into platforms for activism. Tiffany M. Gill argues that the beauty industry played a crucial role in the creation of the modern black female identity and that the seemingly frivolous space of a beauty salon actually has stimulated social, political, and economic change. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

During the American version of the 1997 Labor Day weekend, shocking news interrupted the barbeques. Princess Diana had died in a Paris car crash. One of the world’s most visible women, Diana replaced everything in the news for days, and her death remains for many one of the “I-remember-what-I-was-doing-when-I-heard” moments that dot our lives. Indeed, Princess Diana’s death unleashed an international outpouring of grief, love, and press attention virtually unprecedented in history.

What narrative of white femininity transformed Diana into a signifier of both national and global popularity? What ideologies transform her into an idealized woman of the millennium? Why would a similar idealization not have appeared around a non-white, non-Western, or immigrant woman?

Raka Shome investigates. In Diana and Beyond, Shome explores how images of white femininity in popular culture intersect with issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, and transnationality in the performance of Anglo national modernities.

Digging into the media and cultural artifacts that circulated in the wake of Diana’s death, Shome investigates  issues surrounding motherhood and the production of national masculinities, global humanitarianism, the intersection of fashion and white femininity, and spiritual and national modernity. The result is a fearless and fascinating explanation of the late princess’s never-ending renaissance and ongoing cultural relevance.

haddixOn August 29, 1920 Charles Parker, Jr. was born in Kansas City, Kansas.

As Chuck Haddix writes in Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker, the jazz icon’s launching pad was a home of two faces; an environment that tempted flight.

Charlie “Bird” Parker grew up in Kansas City, a community divided against itself by the Kansas-Missouri state line. Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Charlie came of age musically while hanging around the alleyways behind the nightclubs that lined Twelfth Street in Kansas City, Missouri. The two Kansas Cities were, culturally and politically, worlds apart. Kansas City, Kansas, established by the Wyandotte Indians, faced its larger counterpart Kansas City, Missouri, across the Kaw Valley at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. Bassist Gene Ramey summed up the difference between the two Kansas Cities during the 1920s and 1930s. “Kansas was a dry state in the days I’m talking of, but Missouri was wide open,” Ramey explained. “People who lived in Kansas went over to Missouri and raised hell. It was like some people say of New York–a place to go and have fun in, and then you get on out.”

Parker did “get out,” and not just across the border. After departing for New York City at a young age Bird became a leading light in the urban jazz scene that pioneered bebop­. But Charlie Parker was not a wholesome Midwesterner that got caught up in the Big City. He had developed a heroin addiction by the time he was sixteen. It’s a side of the jazz pioneer’s life that many in his hometown did not want to celebrate.

Parker’s failings aside, the impact the saxophonist had on American music is unmistakable. As a result, Bird’s birthplace is now embracing their native son and Haddix is helping to lead the charge.

Kansas City for the second year held their Charlie Parker Celebration, with panel discussions, music student “boot camps” and plenty of live jazz.

At the 2014 Celebration and again this year, Haddix conducted bus tours of Kansas City sites associated with Parker. The author also headed up some panels to trace the threads of Parker’s musical genius.

“Bird” may have flown away from Kansas City but his nest has never been more welcoming.



parry-giles fullWe are pleased to announce that Hillary Clinton in the News: Gender and Authenticity in American Politics by Shawn J. Parry-Giles has won the 2015 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award, given by the National Communication Association’s Public Address Division.

The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to scholarship in public address.

The award committee stated they were impressed by “the clarity and consistency of argument sustained throughout the book. With so much scholarship published about Hillary Clinton, it’s difficult to say something new. Not only does [the] book manage to do that, but the argument is salient to current media coverage of Clinton. The committee believes that this book deserves and will quickly earn a spot on the short list of key academic studies of Hillary Clinton.”

The award will be given during the NCA’s 101st annual convention in Las Vegas, November 20.

Read a Q&A with author Shawn Parry-Giles about Hillary Clinton in The News here.

MHAlogoThe University of Illinois Press is welcoming the Journal of Mormon History as the newest addition to the journals program.

The Mormon History Association (MHA) is currently in its 50th year and the Journal of Mormon History is celebrating 41 years of publication.

UIP Acquisitions Editor Dawn Durante attended the annual meeting of the Mormon History Association held in Provo, Utah this spring.  It was a a fitting return, as former editor Liz Dulany, whose influence is strongly felt among the MHA community, began building ties with MHA and the Illinois Press in the 1980′s.

In June, Dawn wrote on this very blog, “UIP was a participant in the MHA meetings for decades. After circumstances led to missing the meeting for the last few years, UIP was delighted to return to the flagship meeting for one of its publishing strengths.”

Mormon Studies continues to be a strong list for the Press.  Recently published titles such as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography by Michael Hicks, the MHA Award-winning Kirtland Temple by David J. Howlett, and the forthcoming The Mormon Church and Blacks, edited by Matthew L. Harris and Newell G. Bringhurst have been strong additions to the Press catalog.

Director Laurie Matheson says, “Illinois has been publishing in Mormon history since the mid-1980s, and we are thrilled to build on our commitment to the field by taking on publication of the Journal of Mormon History. This partnership between the Press and the MHA will secure a lasting foundation for the broader dissemination of excellent scholarship in Mormon history.”

The first Journal of Mormon History issue published in partnership with the University of Illinois Press will released in April 2016.

You can follow MHA on Facebook and on Twitter @MormonHistAssoc.

BynumF10This day in 1925, activist A. Philip Randolph led the organization of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a campaign Randolph declared nothing less than “a significant landmark in the history and struggle of the Negro workers in America.” For Randolph personally, it offered the chance for him to test his ideas on the relationship between his socialist beliefs and the race problems he had dedicated his life to solving.

As Cornelius L. Bynum shows in his book Philip A. Randolph and the Struggle for Civil Rights, the African American workers mostly eschewed big picture concerns. They wanted relief from exploitation and indignity:

[N]ot only were porters poorly compensated for the services they provided, but they were also required to work long hours. In addition to the duties they performed during the day attending to passengers’ needs, on long trips porters were expected to be equally available to passengers at night. In many instances, this meant that they got little or no sleep. For the four hundred hours of road service it required porters to put in each month, Pullman paid an average wage of only $78.11. A significant portion of porters’ time went to preparing Pullman cars before passengers arrived for boarding and cleaning up the cabins after each trip. Yet, they were not paid for this time.

Likewise, they were not paid for layovers on long trips or for return trips to their home stations when no passengers were riding in their cars, a procedure called “deadheading.” Porters were also expected to provide their own meals and sleeping quarters on overnight runs. While services like shoe shining were part of a porter’s job, each man was responsible for supplying his own polish, brushes, and clothes.

Working conditions and compensation were even worse for the two hundred or so maids that Pullman employed during this period. According to a pamphlet titled “The Pullman Porter” . . . Pullman maids received a minimum wage of only $70 a month. While the average porter earned on average about $58 a month in tips to supplement his paycheck, opportunities to earn tips for Pullman maids were “necessarily limited.” Even though they like porters were frequently required to make overnight runs, Pullman made no sleeping provisions for its maids, and maids were given even “shorter rest periods than porters on the same run.”

GradelS15Some might say it is just a drop in a very deep and very full bucket but lawmakers in Illinois state government have taken at least one measure to amend a cycle of political malpractice among elected officials.

On Friday, August 21, 2015, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 4025 into law. The bill was passed on May 30, 2015 by both houses of the state Legislature.

Effective January 1, 2016, the bill requires at least one semester of civics for students to graduate from high school in Illinois. It is the first of many prescriptive measures suggested by Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson in their book Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality.

In Corrupt Illinois the authors explain the connection between education and the ethical lapses of the state’s officials:

Ethics, the cost of corruption, and its cure should also be taught explicitly in our schools. The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education in May 2014 recommended that civics should again be a required course in Illinois schools; that social-studies standards be revised to provide civic skills, including news literacy; that students should be required to do service-learning projects in eighth and twelfth grades; that teachers of civics should be licensed and be provided continuing professional development programs; and that efforts should be made in schools to encourage voter registration and voting.

After a generation, as these school children who benefit from these new civic-education programs become adults, they will form a new electorate that, hopefully, will be motivated to take the necessary steps to transform the culture of corruption.

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WilliamsF14Tami Williams has received the 2015 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research in the Humanities Award for her book Germaine Dulac: A Cinema of Sensations.

The UWM Office of Research & Graduate School, in announcing the award noted of Williams:

The 2014 publication of Germaine Dulac: A Cinema of Sensations established Tami Williams as the world’s leading authority on the first feminist filmmaker.

The first full-length historical study and critical biography of Dulac is the product of an ambitious research undertaking critics have called “astounding.” Williams draws upon a massive amount of primary source material, including Dulac’s personal papers, production files, and archival film prints.

Published in the Women and Film History International series, Germaine Dulac: A Cinema of Sensations explores the artistic and sociopolitical currents that shaped Dulac’s approach to cinema and also examines the groundbreaking techniques and strategies she used to critique conservative notions of gender and sexuality.