Black on the Block The Politics of Race and Class in the City
by Mary Pattillo
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Cloth: 978-0-226-64931-3 | Paper: 978-0-226-64932-0 | Electronic: 978-0-226-64933-7
ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYREVIEWSTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

In Black on the Block, Mary Pattillo—a Newsweek Woman of the 21st Century—uses the historic rise, alarming fall, and equally dramatic renewal of Chicago’s North Kenwood–Oakland neighborhood to explore the politics of race and class in contemporary urban America.
           
There was a time when North Kenwood–Oakland was plagued by gangs, drugs, violence, and the font of poverty from which they sprang. But in the late 1980s, activists rose up to tackle the social problems that had plagued the area for decades. Black on the Block tells the remarkable story of how these residents laid the groundwork for a revitalized and self-consciously black neighborhood that continues to flourish today. But theirs is not a tale of easy consensus and political unity, and here Pattillo teases out the divergent class interests that have come to define black communities like North Kenwood–Oakland. She 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 social implications of gentrification. Along the way, Pattillo highlights the conflicted but crucial role that middle-class blacks play in transforming such districts as they negotiate between established centers of white economic and political power and the needs of their less fortunate black neighbors.
 
“A century from now, when today's sociologists and journalists are dust and their books are too, those who want to understand what the hell happened to Chicago will be finding the answer in this one.”—Chicago Reader
 
“To see how diversity creates strange and sometimes awkward bedfellows . . . turn to Mary Pattillo's Black on the Block.”—Boston Globe

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Mary Pattillo is professor of sociology and African American studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Black Picket Fences:Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and coeditor of Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration.

REVIEWS

"To see how diversity creates strange and sometimes awkward bedfellows . . . turn to Mary Pattillo's Black on the Block, an in-depth sociological study of Chicago's North Kenwood-Oakland (NKO) neighborhood, a historically poor and predominantly African-American community rapidly gentrifying. . . In [this] 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 area with decent stores, well-maintained parks, and adequate city services; and the ethical pull of advocating on behalf of those poorer blacks who might be displaced if the neighborhood continues to gentrify. [Pattillo] cautions that . . . we must recognize that most whites will still not move into a black neighborhood. And because they still face discrimination by financial institutions and real estate agents, the black middle class have few options of potential neighborhoods in which to live, and many of the potential sites are poor areas where they will displace their poorer counterparts. This leaves blacks in a precarious position. They end up becoming the public face lending support to redevelopment of ghettos and public housing demolition."
— Boston Globe

"A century from now, when today's sociologists and journalists are dust and their books are too, those who want to understand what the hell happened to Chicago will be finding the answer in this one."
— Harold Henderson, Chicago Reader

"Pattillo convincingly demonstrates that mixed-income communities are not the answer to urban poverty."
— J.A. Vallejo and J. Lee, Political Science Quarterly

"Mary Patrtillo's beautifully written, remarkable new study of black gentrification . . . manages to make powerful and innovative contributions to the study of public housing, schooling, gentrification, and the predicament of African-Americans today. . . . This terrific book is all but guaranteed to spark debate.—Mario Luis Small, American Journal of Sociology
— Mario Luis Small, AJS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. 4432 Berkeley

2. The Black Bourgeoisie Meets the Truly Disadvantaged

3. White Power, Black Brokers

4. Remedies to “Educational Malpractice”

5. The Case against Public Housing

6. The Case for Public Housing

7. Avenging Violence with Violence

Conclusion

Notes

References

Index