Formed on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 at the height of the civil rights, Black power, and Black arts movements, the AFRICOBRA collective created a new artistic visual language rooted in the culture of Chicago's Black neighborhoods. The collective's aesthetics, especially the use of vibrant color, capture the rhythmic dynamism of Black culture and social life. In AFRICOBRA, painter, photographer, and collective cofounder Wadsworth A. Jarrell tells the definitive story of the group's creation, history, and artistic and political principles. From accounts of the painting of the groundbreaking Wall of Respect mural and conversations among group members to documentation of AFRICOBRA's exhibits in Chicago, New York, and Boston, Jarrell outlines how the collective challenged white conceptions of art by developing an artistic philosophy and approach wholly divested of Western practices. Featuring nearly one hundred color images of artworks, exhibition ephemera, and photographs, this book is at once a sourcebook history of AFRICOBRA and the story of visionary artists who rejected the white art establishment in order to create uplifting art for all Black people.
AIA Guide to Chicago
American Institute of Architects Chicago; Edited by Alice Sinkevitch and Laurie McGovern Petersen; Preface by Geoffrey Baer; Introduction by Perry Duis University of Illinois Press, 2014 Library of Congress NA735.C4A43 2014 | Dewey Decimal 720.977311
An unparalleled architectural powerhouse, Chicago offers visitors and natives alike a panorama of styles and forms. The third edition of the AIA Guide to Chicago brings readers up to date on ten years of dynamic changes with new entries on smaller projects as well as showcases like the Aqua building, Trump Tower, and Millennium Park.
Four hundred photos and thirty-four specially commissioned maps make it easy to find each of the one thousand-plus featured buildings, while a comprehensive index organizes buildings by name and architect. This edition also features an introduction providing an indispensable overview of Chicago's architectural history.
Along the Streets of Bronzeville examines the flowering of African American creativity, activism, and scholarship in the South Side Chicago district known as Bronzeville during the period between the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. Poverty stricken, segregated, and bursting at the seams with migrants, Bronzeville was the community that provided inspiration, training, and work for an entire generation of diversely talented African American authors and artists who came of age during the years between the two world wars. In this significant recovery project, Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach investigates the institutions and streetscapes of Black Chicago that fueled an entire literary and artistic movement. She argues that African American authors and artists--such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, painter Archibald Motley, and many others--viewed and presented black reality from a specific geographic vantage point: the view along the streets of Bronzeville. Schlabach explores how the particular rhythms and scenes of daily life in Bronzeville locations, such as the State Street "Stroll" district or the bustling intersection of 47th Street and South Parkway, figured into the creative works and experiences of the artists and writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance.
“Perhaps,” wrote Ralph Ellison more than seventy years ago, “the zoot suit contains profound political meaning; perhaps the symmetrical frenzy of the Lindy-hop conceals clues to great potential power.” As Ellison noted then, many of our most mundane cultural forms are larger and more important than they appear, taking on great significance and an unexpected depth of meaning. What he saw in the power of the Lindy Hop—the dance that Life magazine once billed as “America’s True National Folk Dance”—would spread from black America to make a lasting impression on white America and offer us a truly compelling means of understanding our culture. But with what hidden implications?
In American Allegory, Black Hawk Hancock offers an embedded and embodied ethnography that situates dance within a larger Chicago landscape of segregated social practices. Delving into two Chicago dance worlds, the Lindy and Steppin’, Hancock uses a combination of participant-observation and interviews to bring to the surface the racial tension that surrounds white use of black cultural forms. Focusing on new forms of appropriation in an era of multiculturalism, Hancock underscores the institutionalization of racial disparities and offers wonderful insights into the intersection of race and culture in America.
High-rise public housing developments were signature features of the post–World War II city. A hopeful experiment in providing temporary, inexpensive housing for all Americans, the “projects” soon became synonymous with the black urban poor, with isolation and overcrowding, with drugs, gang violence, and neglect. As the wrecking ball brings down some of these concrete monoliths, Sudhir Venkatesh seeks to reexamine public housing from the inside out, and to salvage its troubled legacy. Based on nearly a decade of fieldwork in Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes, American Project is the first comprehensive story of daily life in an American public housing complex.
Venkatesh draws on his relationships with tenants, gang members, police officers, and local organizations to offer an intimate portrait of an inner-city community that journalists and the public have only viewed from a distance. Challenging the conventional notion of public housing as a failure, this startling book re-creates tenants’ thirty-year effort to build a safe and secure neighborhood: their political battles for services from an indifferent city bureaucracy, their daily confrontation with entrenched poverty, their painful decisions about whether to work with or against the street gangs whose drug dealing both sustained and imperiled their lives.
American Project explores the fundamental question of what makes a community viable. In his chronicle of tenants’ political and personal struggles to create a decent place to live, Venkatesh brings us to the heart of the matter.
Dissecting twenty years of educational politics in our nation’s largest cities, American School Reform offers one of the clearest assessments of school reform as it has played out in our recent history. Joseph P. McDonald and his colleagues evaluate the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge—launched in 1994—alongside other large-scale reform efforts that have taken place in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. They look deeply at what school reform really is, how it works, how it fails, and what differences it can make nonetheless.
McDonald and his colleagues lay out several interrelated ideas in what they call a theory of action space. Frequently education policy gets so ambitious that implementing it becomes a near impossibility. Action space, however, is what takes shape when talented educators, leaders, and reformers guide the social capital of civic leaders and the financial capital of governments, foundations, corporations, and other backers toward true results. Exploring these extraordinary collaborations through their lifespans and their influences on future efforts, the authors provide political hope—that reform efforts can work, and that our schools can be made better.
A comprehensive and engaging history of a century of Polish immigration and influence in Chicago.
Every May, a sea of 250,000 people decked out in red and white head to Chicago’s Loop to celebrate the Polish Constitution Day Parade. In the city, you can tune in to not one but four different Polish-language radio stations or jam out to the Polkaholics. You can have lunch at pierogi food trucks or pick up pączkis at the grocery store. And if you’re lucky, you get to take off work for Casimir Pulaski Day. For more than a century, Chicago has been home to one of the largest Polish populations outside of Poland, and the group has had an enormous influence on the city’s culture and politics. Yet, until now, there has not been a comprehensive history of the Chicago Polonia.
With American Warsaw, award-winning historian and Polish American Dominic A. Pacyga chronicles more than a century of immigration, and later emigration back to Poland, showing how the community has continually redefined what it means to be Polish in Chicago. He takes us from the Civil War era until today, focusing on how three major waves of immigrants, refugees, and fortune seekers shaped and then redefined the Polonia. Pacyga also traces the movement of Polish immigrants from the peasantry to the middle class and from urban working-class districts dominated by major industries to suburbia. He documents Polish Chicago’s alignments and divisions: with other Chicago ethnic groups; with the Catholic Church; with unions, politicians, and city hall; and even among its own members. And he explores the ever-shifting sense of Polskość, or “Polishness.”
Today Chicago is slowly being eclipsed by other Polish immigrant centers, but it remains a vibrant—and sometimes contentious—heart of the Polish American experience. American Warsaw is a sweeping story that expertly depicts a people who are deeply connected to their historical home and, at the same time, fiercely proud of their adopted city. As Pacyga writes, “While we were Americans, we also considered ourselves to be Poles. In that strange Chicago ethnic way, there was no real difference between the two.”
In her prologue to Another Way Home, Ronne Hartfield notes the dearth of stories about African Americans who have occupied the area of mixed race with ease and harmony for generations. Her moving family history is filled with such stories, told in beautifully crafted and unsentimental prose. Spanning most of the twentieth century, Hartfield's book celebrates the special occasion of being born and reared in a household where miscegenation was the rule rather than the exception—where being a woman of mixed race could be a fundamental source of strength, vitality, and courage.
Hartfield begins with the early life of her mother, Day Shepherd. Born to a wealthy British plantation owner and the mixed-race daughter of a former slave, Day negotiates the complicated circumstances of plantation life in the border country of Louisiana and Mississippi and, as she enters womanhood, the quadroon and octoroon societies of New Orleans. Equally a tale of the Great Migration, Another Way Home traces Day's journey to Bronzeville, the epicenter of black Chicago during the first half of the twentieth century. Here, through the eyes of Day and, ultimately, her daughter, we witness the bustling city streets and vibrant middle-class culture of this iconic black neighborhood. We also relive crucial moments in African American history as they are experienced by the author's family and others in Chicago's South Side black community, from the race riots of 1919 and the Great Depression to the murder of Emmett Till and the dawn of the civil rights movement.
Throughout her book, Hartfield portrays mixed-race Americans navigating the challenges of their lives with resilience and grace, making Another Way Home an intimate and compelling encounter with one family's response to our racially charged culture.
Winner of the 1998 Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.
Chicago has always held a special fascination for those interested in architectural and urban history. For many, the defining moment occurred at the turn of the century when Chicago was booming and the world came to the city by the lake. But the story most often told in architectural history—the tale of single creative geniuses like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan—does little to explain the birth of the everyday modern city, with its high-rise downtown, diverse neighborhoods, and sprawling suburbs. This book connects architectural history with urban history by looking at the work of a major architectural firm, Holabird & Roche. No firm in any large American city had a greater impact.
With projects that ranged from tombstones to skyscrapers, boiler rooms to entire industrial complexes, Holabird & Roche left an indelible stamp on the city of Chicago and, indeed, far beyond. In this volume, the first of two on Holabird & Roche and its successor, Holabird & Root, Robert Bruegmann traces the firm’s history from its founding in 1880 to the end of the First World War. Incorporating meticulous research based on the extensive architectural holdings of the Chicago Historical Society, Bruegmann documents the firm’s work from the boom years of the 1880s through the period of sustained growth and innovation after the turn of the century. In chapters devoted to topics as diverse as downtown commercial and retail development, business hotels, civic buildings, automobile showrooms, and suburban clubs and housing, Bruegmann creates a sustained historical narrative that considers the profound interdependence of architecture and modern urban life.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Chicago witnessed a remarkable flourishing of visual arts associated with the Black Arts Movement. From the painting of murals as a way to reclaim public space and the establishment of independent community art centers to the work of the AFRICOBRA collective and Black filmmakers, artists on Chicago's South and West Sides built a vision of art as service to the people. In Art for People's Sake Rebecca Zorach traces the little-told story of the visual arts of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago, showing how artistic innovations responded to decades of racist urban planning that left Black neighborhoods sites of economic depression, infrastructural decay, and violence. Working with community leaders, children, activists, gang members, and everyday people, artists developed a way of using art to help empower and represent themselves. Showcasing the depth and sophistication of the visual arts in Chicago at this time, Zorach demonstrates the crucial role of aesthetics and artistic practice in the mobilization of Black radical politics during the Black Power era.
For decades now, the story of art in America has been dominated by New York. It gets the majority of attention, the stories of its schools and movements and masterpieces the stuff of pop culture legend. Chicago, on the other hand . . . well, people here just get on with the work of making art.
Now that art is getting its due. Art in Chicago is a magisterial account of the long history of Chicago art, from the rupture of the Great Fire in 1871 to the present, Manierre Dawson, László Moholy-Nagy, and Ivan Albright to Chris Ware, Anne Wilson, and Theaster Gates. The first single-volume history of art and artists in Chicago, the book—in recognition of the complexity of the story it tells—doesn’t follow a single continuous trajectory. Rather, it presents an overlapping sequence of interrelated narratives that together tell a full and nuanced, yet wholly accessible history of visual art in the city. From the temptingly blank canvas left by the Fire, we loop back to the 1830s and on up through the 1860s, tracing the beginnings of the city’s institutional and professional art world and community. From there, we travel in chronological order through the decades to the present. Familiar developments—such as the founding of the Art Institute, the Armory Show, and the arrival of the Bauhaus—are given a fresh look, while less well-known aspects of the story, like the contributions of African American artists dating back to the 1860s or the long history of activist art, finally get suitable recognition. The six chapters, each written by an expert in the period, brilliantly mix narrative and image, weaving in oral histories from artists and critics reflecting on their work in the city, and setting new movements and key works in historical context. The final chapter, comprised of interviews and conversations with contemporary artists, brings the story up to the present, offering a look at the vibrant art being created in the city now and addressing ongoing debates about what it means to identify as—or resist identifying as—a Chicago artist today. The result is an unprecedentedly inclusive and rich tapestry, one that reveals Chicago art in all its variety and vigor—and one that will surprise and enlighten even the most dedicated fan of the city’s artistic heritage.
Part of the Terra Foundation for American Art’s year-long Art Design Chicago initiative, which will bring major arts events to venues throughout Chicago in 2018, Art in Chicago is a landmark publication, a book that will be the standard account of Chicago art for decades to come. No art fan—regardless of their city—will want to miss it.
“Ed McElroy, clear of eye, sound of mind, and eighty-three years of age . . . guides his black Cadillac down Halsted Street.” So begins longtime Chicago journalist Neil Steinberg’s nuanced homage to Ed McElroy: an old-school, behind-the-scenes backscratcher who has driven the rich, powerful, and well-connected around the city, doing favors and calling them in, for decades. Helping a young Steinberg understand the city, McElroy and his take on how a Mayor’s son gets to be Mayor and how a wily up-and-comer marries the daughter of a powerful alderman and later becomes governor would enthrall even the most seasoned Chicagoan. In this drive around town and through time, Steinberg ultimately serves up audacious and funny anecdotes about how it helps to stay connected, to know a guy, and to help people out when you can.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to capture the essence of an individual place. The impressions of travelers in particular have a special allure—unanticipated and serendipitous, their views get to the heart of a particular region because nothing to them is routine or expected.
First published in 1933 by the University of Chicago Press to mark the occasion of the Century of Progress Exhibition, As Others See Chicago consists of writings culled from over a thousand men and women who visited the city and commented on the best and worst it had to offer, from the skyscrapers to the stockyards. Originally compiled by Bessie Louise Pierce, the first major historian of Chicago, and featuring her own incisive commentary, the volume brings together the impressions of visitors to Chicago over two and a half centuries, from the early years of Westward Expansion to the height of the Great Depression. In addition to writings from better known personalities such as Rudyard Kipling and Waldo Frank, the book collects the opinions of missionaries, aristocrats, journalists, and politicians—observers who were perfectly placed to comment on the development of the city, its inhabitants, and well known events that would one day define Chicago history, such as the Great Fire of 1871 and the 1893 World's Fair.
Taking us back to a time when Chicago was "more astonishing than the wildest visions of the most vagrant imaginations," As Others See Chicago offers an enthralling portrait of an enduring American metropolis.