Preston Smith II: "Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis: Housing Policy in Postwar Chicago"
Mount Holyoke College professor Preston Smith II will discuss his new book Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis: Housing Policy in Postwar Chicago. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Politics and the Department of African American and African Studies.
In Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis, Smith examines housing debates in Chicago that go beyond black and white politics, and he shows how class and factional conflicts among African Americans actually helped to reproduce stunning segregation along economic lines. What are generally presented as black positions on housing policy in Chicago, Smith makes clear, belonged to the black elite and did not necessarily reflect black working-class participation or interests. This book details how black civic leaders fought racial discrimination in ways that promoted—or at least did not sacrifice—their class interests in housing and real estate struggles. And, as Smith demonstrates, their accommodation of the real estate practices and government policy of the time has had a lasting effect: it contributed to a legacy of class segregation in the housing market in Chicago and major metropolitan areas across the country that is still felt today.
This event is free of charge.