The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers (New Black Studies Series) (Hardcover)

The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers (New Black Studies Series) By Brian Dolinar (Editor), Arna Bontemps (Contributions by), JACK CONROY (Contributions by), Richard Wright (Contributions by), Margaret Walker (Contributions by), Katherine Dunham (Contributions by), Fenton Johnson (Contributions by), Frank Yerby (Contributions by), Richard Durham (Contributions by), Michael Flug  (Contributions by) Cover Image

The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers (New Black Studies Series) (Hardcover)

By Brian Dolinar (Editor), Arna Bontemps (Contributions by), JACK CONROY (Contributions by), Richard Wright (Contributions by), Margaret Walker (Contributions by), Katherine Dunham (Contributions by), Fenton Johnson (Contributions by), Frank Yerby (Contributions by), Richard Durham (Contributions by), Michael Flug (Contributions by)

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A major document of African American participation in the struggles of the Depression, The Negro in Illinois was produced by a special division of the Illinois Writers' Project, one of President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration programs. The Federal Writers' Project helped to sustain "New Negro" artists during the 1930s and gave them a newfound social consciousness that is reflected in their writing. Headed by Harlem Renaissance poet Arna Bontemps and white proletarian writer Jack Conroy, The Negro in Illinois employed major black writers living in Chicago during the 1930s, including Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Katherine Dunham, Fenton Johnson, Frank Yerby, and Richard Durham. The authors chronicled the African American experience in Illinois from the beginnings of slavery to Lincoln's emancipation and the Great Migration, with individual chapters discussing various aspects of public and domestic life, recreation, politics, religion, literature, and performing arts. After the project was canceled in 1942, most of the writings went unpublished for more than half a century--until now. Working closely with archivist Michael Flug to select and organize the book, editor Brian Dolinar compiled The Negro in Illinois from papers at the Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature at the Carter G. Woodson Library in Chicago. Dolinar provides an informative introduction and epilogue which explain the origins of the project and place it in the context of the Black Chicago Renaissance. Making available an invaluable perspective on African American life, this volume represents a publication of immense historical and literary importance.
 Brian Dolinar teaches in the department of African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is the author of The Black Cultural Front: Black Writers and Artists of the Depression Generation.         
Product Details ISBN: 9780252037696
ISBN-10: 0252037693
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2013
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: New Black Studies Series
  "An exciting act of scholarly recovery. The Negro in Illinois papers, at long last available, are an invaluable guide to the role of American writers in crafting one of the first composite narratives of African American life. This dynamic volume shows us history from below in the making and being made."--Bill V. Mullen, coeditor of Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections between African Americans and Asian Americans

"An able and rich retelling of the story of African-American migration, literature, and culture before World War II."--Book News Inc.

  "This landmark study provides a unique window onto the work of the Illinois unit of the Federal Writers' Project. A commendable work of historical recovery."--Richard Courage, coauthor of The Muse in Bronzeville: African American Creative Expression in Chicago, 1932-1950
 
"Chicago had a vibrant black community, perhaps equal to that of Harlem, which makes the Illinois volume both important and interesting.  Highly recommended."--Choice
 
 

"A significant accomplishment.  Not only does it bring to light a range of wonderful material on a variety of topics (the Underground Railroad, work, churches, professions, social life, and social uplift, literature, music, the theater, etc.), but the wonderful introduction and Dolinar's fine editing skills also make the book a significant contribution to scholarship."--The Annals of Iowa

"In bringing out the until now largely unknown The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers, African American literary and cultural studies scholar Brian Dolinar has done an invaluable service for those interested in Great Depression-period black culture.  This work should be on the shelf of all who are interested in the study of African American literature, politics, economics, and culture.  Dolinar's The Negro in Illinois is unquestionably indispensable."--Journal of Illinois History