Crucibles Of Black Empowerment: Chicago's Neighborhood Politics From The New Deal To Harold Washington by Jeffrey HelgesonCrucibles Of Black Empowerment: Chicago's Neighborhood Politics From The New Deal To Harold Washington by Jeffrey Helgeson

Crucibles Of Black Empowerment: Chicago's Neighborhood Politics From The New Deal To Harold…

byJeffrey Helgeson

Hardcover | April 24, 2014

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The term “community organizer” was deployed repeatedly against Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a way to paint him as an inexperienced politician unfit for the presidency. The implication was that the job of a community organizer wasn’t a serious one, and that it certainly wasn’t on the list of credentials needed for a presidential résumé. In reality, community organizers have played key roles in the political lives of American cities for decades, perhaps never more so than during the 1970s in Chicago, where African Americans laid the groundwork for further empowerment as they organized against segregation, discrimination, and lack of equal access to schools, housing, and jobs.

In Crucibles of Black Empowerment, Jeffrey Helgeson recounts the rise of African American political power and activism from the 1930s onward, revealing how it was achieved through community building. His book tells stories of the housewives who organized their neighbors, building tradesmen who used connections with federal officials to create opportunities in a deeply discriminatory employment sector, and the social workers, personnel managers, and journalists who carved out positions in the white-collar workforce.  Looking closely at black liberal politics at the neighborhood level in Chicago, Helgeson explains how black Chicagoans built the networks that eventually would overthrow the city’s seemingly invincible political machine.
Jeffrey Helgeson is assistant professor at Texas State University. He is also a director at Labor Trail, a collaborative project of the Chicago Center for Working Class Studies. 
Title:Crucibles Of Black Empowerment: Chicago's Neighborhood Politics From The New Deal To Harold…Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:April 24, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022613069X

ISBN - 13:9780226130699


Table of Contents

List of Figures and Maps


1. The Politics of Home in Hard Times

2. Community Development in an Age of Protest, 1935–40

3. “Will ‘Our People’ Be Any Better Off after This War?”

4. A Decent Place to Live: The Postwar Housing Shortage

5. Capitalism without Capital: Postwar Employment Activism

6. Sources of Black Nationalism from the 1950s to the 1970s

7. Harold Washington: Black Power and the Resilience of Liberalism

Postscript: The Obamas and Black Chicago’s Long Liberal Tradition




Editorial Reviews

“Helgeson’s analysis is informative and well-written, chronicling an important period in 20th century African American history. Helgeson expands on earlier studies of black Chicago utilizing sources that are original and enlightening. His examination of the influence of the NOI newspaper Muhammad Speaks shows how critical this publication was in developing a number of community-based programs and in leading the charge for the election of black candidates who would be independent of the Daley machines. Based on the skillful use of primary sources from a wide variety of archival collections, Crucibles of Black Empowerment is an insightful work that should be useful to researchers and students interested in understanding how Civil Rights, Black Power, and other national movements played out at the local level.”