Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood (Paperback)
  • Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood (Paperback)
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Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood (Paperback)

(author)
£29.95
Paperback 176 Pages / Published: 30/08/2015
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Living Black breaks the stereotype of poor African American neighborhoods as dysfunctional ghettos of helpless and hopeless peopleDespite real poverty, the community described in Living Black-the historic North End of Champaign, Illinois-is truly a neighborhood, with a vibrant social life, wide-ranging friendships, and strong ties between youth and adults and among multiple generations of community residents, lending a hand to neighbors in need. But it operates on its own terms-valuing nonjudgmental attitudes and individualism, and stressing acceptance of the consequences of personal behavior. Teenage mothers aren't derided, adolescents who drop out of school aren't ridiculed, and parolees and ex-cons aren't scorned.

The North End was settled in the late nineteenth century by descendants of slaves who were seeking employment at the local university. Anthropologist Mark Fleisher offers a window into its daily life at the end of the twentieth century, particularly through the stories of Mo and Memphis Washington, who fight to sustain a stable home for their children, and of Burpee, a local man who has returned to the North End to rebuild his life after years of crime and punishment in Chicago.

Living Black is based on six years of Fleisher's firsthand participant observation in the North End. Earlier studies of the North End, conducted by black graduate students at the University of Illinois in the 1930s and 1960s, indicate that the community Fleisher found in the 1990s carried forward out of slavery a culture of resilience, intergenerational social and economic support, an ability to cope with and adjust to conditions of privation, and a climate of positive interracial relationships between the North End's black residents and the predominantly white university community and local law enforcement agencies.

Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 9780299305345
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 525 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 9 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Fleisher's conclusion that the poor black people of the North End were actually quite resilient, morally sound, and self-sufficient in the face of privation goes against the common notion that American ghettos are broken places. As the author makes clear, what is in need of repair is the larger system that creates ghettos in the first place. "Kirkus Reviews"
"
Goes against the common notion that American ghettos are broken places. . . . Brief, accessible . . . suitable for a general readership. Kirkus Reviews
"
A very engaging account of fieldwork among gang members, their families, and their community, in line with ethnographies like Tally s Corner, Code of the Street, or Gang Leader for a Day. Jeffrey Ian Ross, coauthor of Beyond Bars
"
A human story, not necessarily an account of white vs black or haves vs have nots. . . . Living Black should be required reading for anyone who could benefit from a look outside their own world into the world of others. Which is most of us. Chicago Book Review"
An accessible introduction to ethnographic fieldwork, a window into a deeply textured community . . . and an illustration of the myriad ways that poverty and racism have cascading implications for communities, families, and individuals. Michigan Historical Review"

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