The Chicago Black Renaissance was a time of growth and innovation for Chicago’s Black artistic community. During the early to mid 20th century, Chicago was the place where poets and musicians like Gwendolyn Brooks and Nat King Cole flourished. Here are 6 books that explore the art, literature, and people that helped shape Chicago’s Black Renaissance.

 

Hine1. The Black Chicago Renaissance Edited By Darlene Clark Hine and John McCluskey Jr. 

“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 

 

 

 

 

schlabach

2. Along the Streets of Bronzeville By Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach 

 

“Schlabach strikes a fine balance between acknowledging and illuminating the provocative artistic and political endeavors characteristic of the Chicago Black Renaissance. . . . A rich, artistically oriented micro-history.”–Chicago Book Review 

 

 

 

 

 

tracy3. Writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance Edited By Steven C. Tracy 

“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 

 

 

 

 

 

knupfer4. The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women’s Activism By Anne Meis Knupfer 

“Anne Meis Knupfer’s The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women’s Activism demonstrates the complexity of black women’s many vital contributions to this unique cultural flowering.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WolfskillF175. Archibald Motley Jr. and Racial Reinvention By Phoebe Wolfskill 

“A satisfyingly inquisitive foray into the complications of an African American artist grappling with his own uneasy relationship to matters of race, gender, class, culture, and modernism. Wolfskill provides a welcomed critical probing and less romanticized account of the Harlem Renaissance.”–James Smalls, author of Homosexuality in Art

 

 

 

 

 

MullenA6. Popular Fronts By Bill V. Mullen 

“Mullen marries investigation and a well-executed idea of story in this well-researched piece of scholarship on black art, black literature and literary publications, and the cultural politics of Chicago’s African American community.”–Choice 

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