Black Studies

Review: Pager, Marked

August 29, 2007
By
Review: Pager, Marked

Daniel Lazare has written a fascinating review of several books on America’s growing prison crisis for Monday’s edition of the Nation. According to Lazare, the U.S. prison system currently incarcerates about a quarter of the world’s prisoners with “about 3.2 percent of the adult population under some form of criminal-justice supervision.” And for African Americans, Lazare writes, “the numbers are even more astonishing. By the mid-1990s, 7 percent of black males were behind bars, while the rate of imprisonment for black males between the ages of 25 and 29 now stands at one in eight.” But according to Lazare this is only half the problem; what happens after this large, racially disparate prison population is released to face the prospects of finding a job and living without crime? Lazare turns to Devah Pager’s new book, Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration for the answer: In Marked, Devah Pager, who also teaches sociology at Princeton, uses a simple technique to show how mass incarceration has undone the small amount of racial progress achieved in the 1960s and ’70s. Working with two pairs of male college students in Milwaukee, one white and the other black, she . . .

Read more »

The South Side as Sociological Specimen

August 6, 2007
By
The South Side as Sociological Specimen

In a recent article for the Chicago Tribune staff reporter Ron Grossman delivers a fascinating account of the long legacy of sociological study that has used Chicago’s South Side as its laboratory. Grossman begins his article by mentioning one of the latest additions to this legacy, Mary Pattillo’s Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Her book, like those of the many other sociologists who have chosen to study the South Side’s unique black urban communities, focuses on the sharp divides in race, class, and culture that can be found in the area’s neighborhoods. But it also explores a growing phenomena in Chicago’s South Side communities, the black urban middle class. Examining the social impact of the gentrification of neighborhoods that have for years been home to some of the city’s poorest residents, Pattillo’s book continues to break new ground in one of the most often studied urban neighborhoods in America. You can read Grossman’s article online at the Tribune website, or navigate to the press’s site to find out more about Pattillo’s fascinating new book, as well as read an excerpt. . . .

Read more »

Mary Pattillo on the future of Chicago’s black urban communties

July 24, 2007
By
Mary Pattillo on the future of Chicago’s black urban communties

Mary Pattillo, author of the recently published Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City, penned a fascinating op-ed piece for Sunday’s Chicago Tribune on the rapidly changing face of Chicago’s black urban communities. Pattillo’s article begins: “No more blacks.” That was the forecast of a resident of the Oakland community when asked about the future of her South Side neighborhood. “No more blacks?” I responded, worried in no small part because my research is about black gentrification. “ couple of blacks” would be left, the woman then allowed. “They got money. This simple prediction is rich with meaning. For one thing, it helps establish the players in the widespread upscaling of Chicago: The little man. The middleman. And then, The Man. The prediction also lays out what’s at stake, not just in Oakland and North Kenwood on the South Side, but in various Chicago neighborhoods. In the process of “building, breaking, rebuilding” the City of the Big Shoulders, as Chicago’s poet Carl Sandburg so eloquently put it, who is going to keep the little man from being left behind? Are Chicago’s shoulders big enough to serve, include and celebrate everyone? Pattillo’s article seems to . . .

Read more »

Review: Pattillo, Black on the Block

June 26, 2007
By
Review: Pattillo, Black on the Block

The Chicago Reader recently ran an insightful analysis of Mary Pattillo’s new book, Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Reviewer Harold Henderson reflects on how Pattillo’s participant-observer study of Chicago’s North Kenwood—Oakland neighborhood reveals a tangled network of competing interests, even within the community itself, that if left unresolved make any predictions as to the future of the neighborhood and its inhabitants uncertain at best. Henderson writes: Mayor Daley’s brave new Chicago doesn’t work for everyone. Eric Klinenberg tried to make this point five years ago with Heat Wave, his examination of who suffered and how during a 1995 natural disaster. Now Northwestern University sociologist Mary Pattillo nails it with Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City … She traces North Kenwood—Oakland’s fortunes from late-19th-century prosperity to 1970s poverty and back to relative prosperity, then focuses on the uneasy position of the growing population of middle-class black professionals, who often find themselves acting as brokers between “the Man” downtown and the “littlemen” back in the hood.… After two decades of gentrification the neighborhood has three new schools, less public housing, less crime, and a booming real-estate market. . . .

Read more »

Mary Patillo on Eight Forty-Eight

May 17, 2007
By
Mary Patillo on Eight Forty-Eight

Author Mary Pattillo was featured Tuesday on Chicago Public Radio’s daily news-radio talk show Eight Forty-Eight. Pattillo speaks with host Richard Steele about her new book Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City and the revitalization of Chicago’s North Kenwood-Oakland neighborhood. Their conversation explores the problems facing this rapidly gentrifying black community to touch on broader issues of race and class in contemporary urban America. You can find archived audio of the show on the Chicago Public Radio website. Pattillo will also be at 57th Street Books today at 7pm to read from her book. In the meantime, you can check out an excerpt on our website. . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Kaplan, The Interpreter

May 9, 2007
By
Press Release: Kaplan, The Interpreter

No story of World War II is more triumphant than the liberation of France, made famous in countless photos of Parisians waving American flags and kissing GIs as columns of troops paraded down the Champs Élysées. But one of the least-known stories from that era is also one of the ugliest chapters in the history of Jim Crow. In The Interpreter, celebrated author Alice Kaplan recovers this story both as eyewitnesses first saw it, and as it still haunts us today. The American Army executed 70 of its own soldiers between 1943 and 1946—almost all of them black, in an army that was overwhelmingly white. Through the French interpreter Louis Guilloux’s eyes, Kaplan narrates two different trials: one of a white officer, one of a black soldier, both accused of murder. Both were court-martialed in the same room, yet the outcomes could not have been more different. Kaplan’s insight into character and setting make The Interpreter an indelible portrait of war, race relations, and the dangers of capital punishment. “American racism could become deadly for black soldiers on the front. The Interpreter reminds us of this sad component of a heroic chapter in American military history.” Los Angeles Times “A . . .

Read more »

Review: Pattillo, Black on the Block

April 10, 2007
By
Review: Pattillo, Black on the Block

The March 31 Boston Globe featured an article reviewing several new books about urban gentrification and its complex impact on the politics of race and class in contemporary urban America. These works together create, in the words of reviewer Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, “a more nuanced picture of gentrification.” Venkatesh praises Mary Pattillo, author of Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City, for her detailed examination of this issue through her first-hand account of conflict, cooperation, and community building in Chicago’s North Kenwood-Oakland (NKO) neighborhood—a rapidly changing African American community on Chicago’s South Side. From the review: Pattillo eschews most norms of social scientific objectivity by taking up residence in NKO. She is a homeowner and secretary of a local neighborhood association with great influence over local development—not to mention a Northwestern University professor. … Pattillo acknowledges her complicated role, as both interested party and analyst. But through her experience we see how complicated life can be for the black middle class. In her neighborhood, Pattillo and other newly-arriving homeowners, many of whom find themselves sandwiched between empty lots and dilapidated, low-income housing projects, are caught between two motivations: the wish to live in an . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Patillo, Black on the Block

April 9, 2007
By
Press Release: Patillo, Black on the Block

Mary Pattillo is a Newsweek Woman of the 21st Century because of her critically acclaimed last book, Black Picket Fences, which changed forever the way many of us think about the black middleclass in America today. In Black on the Block, Pattillo returns to the South Side of Chicago to explore how class conflicts within the black community are dramatically changing the shape and terms of racial solidarity. Her focus is the work that more affluent members of the black community are doing to lift historically impoverished and dilapidated neighborhoods out of abject poverty—and the tensions that arise between poorer and middleclass blacks when they do so. Black on the Block explores the often heated battles between haves and have-nots, home owners and apartment dwellers, and newcomers and old timers as they clash over the political implications of gentrification and reaching out to white economic power bases. Read the press release. We also have an excerpt from the book. . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Glaude, In a Shade of Blue

March 13, 2007
By
Press Release: Glaude, In a Shade of Blue

John Dewey once said that every generation has to accomplish democracy for itself, because social justice is something that cannot be handed down from one person to another: it has to be worked out in terms of the needs, problems, and conditions of the present moment and its distinct challenges. In this impassioned and inspirational work, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. puts Dewey’s idea into the service of his fellow African Americans. According to Glaude, black politics have grown increasingly stagnant and even ineffectual because of their basis in the sufferings and indignities of the past instead of the real-live obstacles of the present moment. To remedy this, Glaude here dislodges black politics from the dogmas and fixed ideas of the Civil Rights movement and points them in the direction of more pragmatic solutions rooted in the here and now. Poor health, alarming rates of imprisonment, drugs, and the advanced concentration of poverty in our nation’s cities warrant a form of political engagement that steps out of the shadows of the black freedom struggles of the 1960s and rises to the complexities of the 21st century with more innovative thinking, a greater emphasis on responsibility and personal accountability, and a fuller . . .

Read more »

Eddie Glaude on the Tavis Smiley Show

March 7, 2007
By
Eddie Glaude on the Tavis Smiley Show

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author and Princeton University professor of religious studies, was featured on the Tavis Smiley Show last weekend discussing “how his new book, In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, offers a starting point for examining the upcoming election season through the eyes of African Americans.” You can listen to archived audio from the program online at the Tavis Smiley Show website. With In a Shade of Blue Glaude, one of our nation’s rising young African American intellectuals, makes an impassioned plea for black America to address its social problems by recourse to experience and with an eye set on the promise and potential of the future, rather than the fixed ideas and categories of the past. Heady, inspirational, and brimming with practical wisdom, this timely book is a remarkable work of political commentary on a scale rarely seen today. To follow its trajectory is to learn how African Americans arrived at this critical moment in their history and to envision where they might head in the twenty-first century. Read an excerpt. . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors