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The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers
edited by Brian Dolinar
University of Illinois Press, 2013
Paper: 978-0-252-08093-7 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09495-8 | Cloth: 978-0-252-03769-6
Library of Congress Classification E185.93.I2N44 2013
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.896073077311

The Negro in Illinois was produced by a special division of the Illinois Writers' Project, one of President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration programs. Headed by Harlem Renaissance poet Arna Bontemps and white proletarian writer Jack Conroy, The Negro in Illinois employed Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Katherine Dunham, Fenton Johnson, Frank Yerby, Richard Durham, and other major black writers living in Chicago.
The authors chronicled the African American experience in Illinois from the beginnings of slavery to the Great Migration. Individual chapters discuss various aspects of public and domestic life, recreation, politics, religion, literature, and performing arts. After the project's cancellation in 1942, most of the writings went unpublished for more than half a century--until now. Editor Brian Dolinar provides an informative introduction and epilogue which explain the origins of the project and place it in the context of the Black Chicago Renaissance.

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