The Depression Comes to the South Side
147 pages

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Economic downturn and local politics on Chicago's South Side

In the 1920s, the South Side was looked on as the new Black Metropolis, but by the turn of the decade that vision was already in decline—a victim of the Depression. In this timely book, Christopher Robert Reed explores early Depression-era politics on Chicago's South Side. The economic crisis caused diverse responses from groups in the black community, distinguished by their political ideologies and stated goals. Some favored government intervention, others reform of social services. Some found expression in mass street demonstrations, militant advocacy of expanded civil rights, or revolutionary calls for a complete overhaul of the capitalist economic system. Reed examines the complex interactions among these various groups as they played out within the community as it sought to find common ground to address the economic stresses that threatened to tear the Black Metropolis apart.

1. The Impact of the Great Depression
2. The Ineffectiveness of Conventional Politics
3. Protest Activism in the Streets
4. Protest Activism Across the Spectrum: Militant to Radical
5. Organized Non-economic Civil Rights Activities
6. Cultural Stirrings and Conclusion



Publié par
Date de parution 05 octobre 2011
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253005526
Langue English

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Reed, Christopher Robert. The Depression comes to the South Side : protest and politics in the Black metropolis, 1930-1933 / Christopher Robert Reed. p. cm. — (Blacks in the diaspora) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-253-35652-9 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. African Americans—Illinois—Chicago— Politics and government—20th century. 2. African Americans—Illinois—Chicago—Social conditions—20th century. 3. African Americans—Civil rights—Illinois—Chicago—History— 20th century. 4. Depressions—1929—Illinois—Chicago—Social aspects. 5. South Chicago (Ill.)—Politics and government—20th century. 6. South Chicago (Ill.)—Social conditions— 20th century. 7. Chicago (Ill.)—Politics and government—20th century. 8. Chicago (Ill.)— Social conditions—20th century. I. Title. F548.9.N4R444 2011 323.1196'073077311—dc22 2011011595
1 2 3 4 5 16 15 14 13 12 11
To the contributors to Roosevelt University’s rich scholarly tradition of the 1960s:
Alizabeth Balanoff
St. Clair Drake Charles V. Hamilton
Paul Johnson
Don S. Kirschner
Āugust Meier
Lorenzo Dow Turner
Frank Untermyer
Ālice Zimring
“[Twenty] banks have closed their doors in Chicago on Monday and Tuesday. This morning the Lincoln State Bank closed—these banks . . . all in the Colored district. It is terrible. The Douglass Bank is the only bank open in our district.” —ARCHIE L. WEAVER TO ROBERT W. BAGNALL, JUNE 10 1931, PAPERS OF THE NAACP, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
“Chicago is one of the hardest hit cities as far as unemployment is concerned.” —ARCHIE L. WEAVER TO ROY WILKINS, JUNE 17, 1932, PAPERS OF THE NAACP, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
1. The Impact of the Depression on Home Life, Institutions, and Organizations
2. The Ineffectiveness of Conventional Politics
3. Protest Activism in the Streets: An Alternative to Conventional Politics
4. Organized Protest Responses—From Militant to Revolutionary: The NAACP and the Communist Party
5. Organized Efforts in Behalf of Civil Rights
6. Cultural Stirrings and Conclusion
The last several decades have witnessed a resurgence of popular interest into the dynamics of life in Chicago’s famed lack South Side community during the first half of the twentieth century. This curiosity has, in turn, accelerated academic inquisitiveness aout the historic Black Metropolis. For its part, recent scholarship has comined with outstanding past academic as well as literary production from the likes of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hanserry, and many others to revive the saga of the Black Metropolis, now euphemistically referred to as Bronzeville. The trials and triumphs descried and analyzed in St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton’s tome,Black Metropolis (1945), have informed oth lay and academic readership as to what historian Leon F. Litwack has laeled interior history. More accurately,Black Metropolis now representsthe model still in use for understanding the African American experience in the North during the early twentieth century. The historical impact of one of the last century’s most traumatic experiences, the Great Depression, along with its accompanying feature, gloal war, had yet to e examined as to its effects from the point of view of the Black Metropolis. This volume tackles the task of exploring historical occurrences during the initial period of the Depression’s devastation and up to immediately efore the advent of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ameliorative New Deal programs in 1933. With documentation and interpretations from the ideological Left and middle grounds now more accessile, these have een carefully comined with the reports of traditional mainstream sources.The Depression Comes to the South Side: Protest and Politics in the Black Metropolis, 1930–1933 aims to answer heretofore unanswered or misunderstood questions as to the extent of lack involvement in the struggle for economic survival four generations ago. The stereotype of the passive citizen of the South Side, as found in the Julius Rosenwald Papers and distilled in the epigram tochapter 4, or even in the protagonist of Richard Wright’sNative Son,gained as much popular crediility as the image of the Chicago has residents who populated the pages of Drake and Cayton’sBlack Metropolis,and who often risked their lives in active pursuit of economic and social justice. Thanks to stimulating suggestions over several decades from Professors John H. Bracey Jr. and John E. Higginson of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to investigate the actions of the usually unsung activists of the Depression decade, such as workers Harry Haywood and Odis Hyde, this ook took a more comprehensive view of activism eyond that associated with the traditional reform organizations of the period. Likewise, noted civil rights attorney Lawrence Kennon and pulisher Bennett Johnson reminded me that the activities of Communist Claude Lightfoot, another participant-oserver of the 1930s, could not e overlooked. Importantly, the informative research, conversations, and writings of the late Professors August Meier and Elliot M. Rudwick at Kent State University aided me in an appreciation of the Chicago NAACP, the Chicago Uran League, and variousad hoc organizations, and the roles they played in guiding the Black Metropolis’s vast population to survive this economic ordeal. Scholarly advice flowed as readers of this manuscript in its roughest form raved the author’s sometimes complex, often confusing concepts and interpretations and rendered their valued criticisms and suggestions. Dean Lynn Y. Weiner of Roosevelt University and Pia Hunter of the University of Illinois at Chicago volunteered first and stayed the course, to their credit and enefit. They were joined in this effort y Marionette Catherine Phelps, who has proved a faithful and insightful reviewer. Moreover, Professors Clovis Semmes, Roert
T. Starks, Timuel D. Black; Darlene Clark Hine, and Roert Howard, all memers of the Black Chicago History Forum, demonstrated that organization’s valuale role as they provided insight and clarifications on key historical events in Chicago history. Acknowledgment must e accorded the staff at the Harold Washington Lirary Center of the Chicago Pulic Lirary for their professional approach to scholarly research over many years. Their ranks included Theresa Yoder and Maja Walsh in Special Collections, Warren Watson and George Tiits in the Reference Division, and Ronisha Epps and Claudia Armstrong in Microfilms. At the offices of the Chicago Landmarks Commission, where the author serves as a memer, Brian Goeken, Susan E. Perry, Terry Tatum, Heidi Sperry, Matt Crawford, and Beth Johnson provided needed assistance through their deep knowledge of Chicago’s architecture and design. Lirarian Pia Hunter, assisted y microfilm technicians April Pittman and Delores Thomas, at the main lirary at the University of Illinois at Chicago were generous in lending their skills as this project proceeded. Lastly, at my alma mater, Roosevelt University, I received continuous technical assistance from Lynnett Davis, Rosalyn Collins, Helen Taylor, Dayne Agnew, Cheryl Williams-Sledge, Jaime Reyes, Vincent Perkins, Bernard Turner, Heidi Foster, Mary Foster, and Chris Mich, as well as printing assistance from Wayne Magnus and Richard Woodfork. The editorial staff at the Indiana University Press encouraged the production of this ook, along with providing valuale suggestions. So, loud huzzahs go out to editorial director Roert J. Sloan and project manager Brian Herrmann, along with copyeditor Emma Young. The entire Reed family, including my wife, Marva, children, and grandchildren, as well as Wallene Evens and Rev. John D. Slaughter, Sr., contriuted in various ways to what exists in the end as a personal salute to courageous and determined Chicagoans of the 1930s.
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