Writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance

Author: Edited by Steven C. Tracy
An expansive introduction to Chicago's great cultural explosion
Cloth – $125
Paper – $38
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 12/10/2012
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About the Book

Writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance comprehensively explores the contours and content of the Black Chicago Renaissance, a creative movement that emerged from the crucible of rigid segregation in Chicago's "Black Belt" from the 1930s through the 1960s. Heavily influenced by the Harlem Renaissance and the Chicago Renaissance of white writers, its participants were invested in political activism and social change as much as literature, art, and aesthetics. The revolutionary writing of this era produced some of the first great accolades for African American literature and set up much of the important writing that came to fruition in the Black Arts Movement.

The volume covers a vast collection of subjects, including many important writers such as Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Lorraine Hansberry as well as cultural products such as black newspapers, music, and theater. The book includes individual entries by experts on each subject; a discography and filmography that highlight important writers, musicians, films, and cultural presentations; and an introduction that relates the Harlem Renaissance, the White Chicago Renaissance, the Black Chicago Renaissance, and the Black Arts Movement.

Contributors are Robert Butler, Robert H. Cataliotti, Maryemma Graham, James C. Hall, James L. Hill, Michael Hill, Lovalerie King, Lawrence Jackson, Angelene Jamison-Hall, Keith Leonard, Lisbeth Lipari, Bill V. Mullen, Patrick Naick, William R. Nash, Charlene Regester, Kimberly Ruffin, Elizabeth Schultz, Joyce Hope Scott, James Smethurst, Kimberly M. Stanley, Kathryn Waddell Takara, Steven C. Tracy, Zoe Trodd, Alan Wald, Jamal Eric Watson, Donyel Hobbs Williams, Stephen Caldwell Wright, and Richard Yarborough.

About the Author

Steven C. Tracy is a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Chu Tian Scholar at Central China Normal University. He is the author of Langston Hughes and the Blues and Going to Cincinnati: A History of the Blues in the Queen City.


"A vigorous and seminal reassessment of an essential chapter in American culture."--Booklist

"If Tracy's intention in pulling together the contributions to this thorough book is to enlighten readers about this outstanding group of artists and this period in our country's cultural history, he has succeeded remarkably. . . . A superb introduction to the Black Chicago Renaissance."--Library Journal

"The authors written about here across some 30 essays and literary biographies led fascinating lives, and the essays serve as windows into a bygone era. . . . 4 stars."--Time Out Chicago

"Rigorously challenges still-common perceptions of the Harlem Renaissance as the defining moment of African American literary production. . . . A foundational work."--Journal of Illinois History

"Required reading for anyone seeking to understand the wide diversity of the black Chicago Renaissance. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"An important reference work that will stimulate further research on this fascinating and influential literary movement."--Journal of the Illinois Historical Society


"A genuinely useful reference and inspirational sourcebook. Tracy's selection of Chicago-connected writers intelligently guides us through the understudied territory of 'post-Harlem' African American literature."--William J. Maxwell, editor of Claude McKay's Complete Poems

"A most important reference book on a subject that is sure to get increasing attention for years to come. The volume will serve as a foundational source of information and perspective on the major figures of the Black Chicago Renaissance."--Amritjit Singh, coeditor of The Collected Writings of Wallace Thurman: A Harlem Renaissance Reader