Reviews

Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

This rich collection of oral histories of three generations of African Americans tells much about the economic, social, and cultural history of black Chicago, despite the author's claims to the contrary. In this rich and potent text, Black (emer., City Colleges of Chicago) lays out the myriad ways new arrivals to "Bronzeville" and their progeny struggled against and often overcame barriers of racism, oppression, and poverty to build futures of hope and promise in the 1920s-1960s. A product himself of this historical community, Black offers his 36 in-depth interviews of both famous and ordinary people in transcript format. While the downside of this style is that the exchanges are at times choppier than if offered in narrative prose, the clear and important benefit is that it captures the "voices" of the interviewees as they lay out their "strategies for survival." A mine to be explored by lay readers and historians alike, this collection lays plain the brutal and yet uplifting experiences faced by many African Americans as they forged new paths for themselves and their families in the North. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries. D. B. Turk New York University


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This is a collection of interviews with black Chicagoans affected by the great migration of southern blacks to the North during World War II. While many of these interviewees--bankers, lawyers, doctors, entertainers, and politicians--reveal substantial success stories, they also reflect on the adversities they faced and the evolution of their strategies to overcome and, in fact, endure the prejudice and hardships they found in Chicago. Black interviews more than 150 people who left their mark on Chicago, providing personal accounts of the broader sociological studies that have profiled black Chicago. This oral history, done in a question-and-answer format, captures memories of the children of the great migration, many now grandparents and great-grandparents. Without this work, many of these stories would otherwise be lost to a throwaway generation with little historical perspective. Black has captured the voices of the near past, and they tell a story as contemporary as our own: that success only comes with struggle, that progress is possible only when our history is both reflected and recognized in our contemporary lives. --Vernon Ford Copyright 2003 Booklist