Selling The Race-Culture, Community, And Black Chicago

Submitted By Cbenson25
Words: 1092
Pages: 5

Book Report of
“Selling the Race-Culture, Community, and Black Chicago, 1940-1955”
Author, Adam Green

Adam Green’s book which depicts the life of the African American people, post-war, during the times of 1940-1955 in the city of Chicago; not only their lives in general but their lives as a group of peoples and how after slavery, after the war, and the great migration north how they tried to or in some cases successfully reinvented, redefined and promoted themselves as people of value, dignity and strength. Although Green’s main focus was on the progressive efforts made by African Americans in the music industry and media such as popular publications as the Associated Negro Press black news service, Defender newspaper, Negro Digest pocket-magazine, Ebony magazine, and Jet magazine; he did not hesitate to highlight the struggles against racism on the job, in the community as far as housing is concerned, lynching, and unemployment. I believe Green did a great job at telling the story from the point of view of not as just a people who were down and out ex-slaves or freed men, but as a people who were very instrumental in their own construction of making a better future for themselves by striving for better equality of rights in their community of jobs and housing and establishing their own businesses. And by doing so, it seems that Chicago became a template/model or pattern for which the future endeavors of African Americans could follow. Green demonstrated that the progress of African Americans in Chicago had a far reaching affect across the country and was not just limited to the city itself. In Green’s introduction he stated he wanted to present the more “modern” Black American and their issues with the surfacing of “class distinctions and antagonisms” but still with the feeling of nationalism within the Black culture, the unique bond shared among Blacks and their need for empowerment and improvement. Green said this, “Uplift and clientage, ultimately, are two ideas undergoing some significant interrogation in this place and time, and I present them in more contingent form than has been the case to date in recent work.” (Green, p. 10) Our culture, according to the Bing (online web source) definitions are as follows:
1. Arts collectively: art, music, literature, and related intellectual activities, considered collectively
2. Knowledge and sophistication: enlightenment and sophistication acquired through education and exposure to the arts
3. Shared beliefs and values of group: the beliefs, customs, practices, and social behavior of a particular nation or people; our community which during this time consisted of migrated southern African Americans from the south, professionals, skilled/unskilled, lower class, the growing middle class, musicians, artists, small business owners; black Chicago, during a specific time period, which is the main focus of this book. In chapter one, Imagining the Future, Green gave an account of the American Negro Exposition that took place in Chicago the year of 1940, it gave the community of African American the beginning sense of nationalism among the people. The Exposition was reported as not being as successful as hoped due to what Green pointed out as issues relating to “labor troubles, problems in securing sought-after attractions, and disappointing attendance…” (Green, p. 13) The exposition was meant to show the African American in the light of where they came from and what they can contribute and achieve in the future. I believe it was hoping to dispel the mainstream myths and stereotypes of how people in general viewed African Americans. In chapter two, Making the Music, Green discussed the growing popularity of the music scene in Chicago. From the perspective of the music makers such recording and publishing companies to the actual artists and their struggles with said companies and such organizations as the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers