Black Studies

Press Release: Kaplan, The Interpreter

May 9, 2007
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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 . . .

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Review: Pattillo, Black on the Block

April 10, 2007
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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 . . .

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Press Release: Patillo, Black on the Block

April 9, 2007
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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. . . .

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Press Release: Glaude, In a Shade of Blue

March 13, 2007
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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 . . .

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Eddie Glaude on the Tavis Smiley Show

March 7, 2007
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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. . . .

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15, 2007
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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Since 1986 Martin Luther King day has been celebrated as a federal holiday in honor of one of the most influential and effective leaders of the American civil rights movement. And what better way to spend your day off than taking a little time to reflect on the long story of America’s struggle toward equality, past and present. The Press has published a comprehensive list of books on civil rights in America, covering everything from the life of Martin Luther King’s mentor Bayard Rustin, to more contemporary views on African-American citizenship. To find more books on the American civil rights movement and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. see our related complete catalog categories in Black Studies, Politics, and Sociology. Happy MLK day! . . .

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John Hope Franklin receives the John W. Kluge Prize

November 15, 2006
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John Hope Franklin receives the John W. Kluge Prize

An article in today’s New York Times reports that historian John Hope Franklin has been awarded the John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity. The Times calls the million dollar award “the prize that Alfred Nobel forgot … specifically intended for areas that the Nobel Prizes do not cover like history, political science, sociology, and philosophy.” Franklin, currently emeritus professor of history at Duke University, will split the prize with Yu Ying-shih, a professor of Chinese history at Princeton. The New York Times writes that “Franklin is widely regarded as among the first scholars to explore fully the role of African Americans in the nation’s history.” Some of that scholarship was published by the University of Chicago Press. We published Racial Equality in America (1976), George Washington Williams: A Biography (1985), and Reconstruction after the Civil War, now in a third edition. This is the third year that the Kluge Prize has been awarded by the Library of Congress. Franklin is the fourth UCP author to receive the prize; previous winners include Jaroslav Pelikan, Paul Ricoeur, and Leszek Kolakowski. . . .

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Review: Allen, Talking to Strangers

April 25, 2006
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Review: Allen, Talking to Strangers

The Boston Review recently reviewed Danielle Allen’s Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education. From the review by Nick Bromell: "Allen understands that democracy originates in the subjective dimension of everyday life, and she focuses on what she calls our ‘habit of citizenship’—the ways we often unconsciously regard and interact with fellow citizens…. focus on race is entirely appropriate." "Don’t talk to strangers" is the advice long given to children by parents of all classes and races. Today it has blossomed into a fundamental precept of civic education, reflecting interracial distrust, personal and political alienation, and a profound suspicion of others. In Talking to Strangers, a powerful and eloquent essay, Danielle Allen, a 2002 MacArthur Fellow, takes this maxim back to Little Rock, rooting out the seeds of distrust to replace them with "a citizenship of political friendship." Read an excerpt and interview with the author. . . .

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"Acting white"

February 21, 2006
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"Acting white"

"Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." —Barack Obama, Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention, 2004 Ron Netsky, a writer for City (Rochester, NY), observed that the term "acting white" has been appearing in the media a lot lately (most recently in The Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times) . Signithia Fordham and John Ogbu popularized the term in a study published in Urban Review in 1986. Fordham is also the author of Blacked Out: Dilemmas of Race, Identity, and Success at Capital High, a book which explores academic achievement within the Black community and the price students pay for attaining it. Earlier this month, Netsky interviewed Fordham about Black education issues and what it means to "act white." City: In Blacked Out, you write that one of the things that seems to make the education process difficult is generational. Fordham: After the Brown decision and the Civil Rights act—in the 1960s . . .

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Author Event: Ronne Hartfield

February 17, 2006
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Author Event: Ronne Hartfield

On February 21, Ronne Hartfield will discuss and sign Another Way Home: The Tangled Roots of Race in One Chicago Family as part of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Black History Month celebrations. The event is free and open to the public. Spanning most of the twentieth century, Another Way Home celebrates the special circumstance of being born and reared in a household where being a woman of mixed race could be a fundamental source of strength, vitality, and courage. Read an excerpt from the book. Visit our black studies catalog. . . .

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