The Black Chicago Renaissance's stamp on American history

July 13, 2012

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You’ve probably heard of the Harlem Renaissance--that vibrant period of creativity and progress among African Americans in the 1920’s that left an indelible imprint on the nation’s art, music and literature.  

But have you heard of the Black Chicago Renaissance?

It’s a period that more scholars are defining as an equally important turning point in American life--not just for arts and culture, but for politics, labor and civil rights.

Just last week, a new anthology on the period was released, titled The Black Chicago Renaissance. This month, dozens of educators from around the country are visiting Chicago for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Landmarks of American History and Culture program, “Renaissance in Black Metropolis: Chicago, 1930-1950.” They’re here to get a firsthand primer on the people, places and forces that shaped this period in Chicago.

Friday on Afternoon Shift, we go back more than 70 years to walk the streets of Chicago with Erik Gellman, Lionel Kimble. Gellman is an associate professor of history at Roosevelt University, and Kimble is an associate professor of history at Chicago State University. They're also co-directors of “Renaissance in Black Metropolis: Chicago, 1930-1950."

We'll also be joined by Davarian Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut, and Heather Ireland Robinson, Executive Director of the South Side Community Art Center.