The Negro in Illinois celebrated at Chicago Public Library event

On Saturday, September 28, The Chicago Public Library will host a celebration of the University of Illinois Press publication of The Negro in Illinois at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted, Chicago.

The Negro in Illinois was produced by a special division of the Illinois Writers Project, one of President Roosevelt’s WPA programs. It was researched by a team of more than 100 writers, activists and scholars, including Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Katherine Dunham, and Richard Durham. This unprecedented study was nearly lost after the project was closed down with U.S. entry into World War II.

Brian Dolinar, editor of what is now the completed book, spent years searching for the missing chapters of The Negro in Illinois and succeeded in putting the original manuscript back together. The research materials and many book chapters were given to Vivian G. Harsh, founder of the Chicago Public Library collection which bears her name. But this landmark work of the Chicago Black Renaissance was never in print until published by the UIP in late July of 2013.

The resulting book tells not only the story of Illinois African American struggles and achievements, but the story of the men and women who created this masterwork. Dolinar will present the book and tell the story of its long journey to publication.

Joining Dolinar at the celebration is a distinguished panel of scholars of African American History:

Darlene Clark Hine is Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University. She is past president of the Organization of American History, and co-editor of The Black Chicago Renaissance.

Christopher R. Reed is Professor Emeritus of History at Roosevelt University and author of Black Chicago’s First Century, 1833-1900 and The Rise of Chicago’s Black Metropolis, 1920-1929.

Adam P. Green is Associate Professor of American History and Master, Social Sciences Collegiate Division, at University of Chicago. He is the author of Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940-1955.

Copies of the book will be available for sale and there will be a signing after the program.

This program is sponsored by Vivian G. Harsh Society, South Side Community Art Center and Black Chicago History Forum.

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