Week 10 Odds and Ends

Thanks for a very spirited discussion this morning – passionate words on a controversial topic. I think we’ll have more of that when we return from holiday and talk about (mostly) right-wing white people.

A few things to mop up from this morning: first, here are Amazon links to the books Lionel brought back from the Phillips Collection. As you may recall, the Phillips has the odd-numbered panels of the Great Migration series, while New York’s Museum of Modern Art has the even-numbered ones. The books are: Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence (a biography written for children – beautifully illustrated with works from across Lawrence’s career), The Great Migration: An American Story (also nominally a children’s book, but has reproductions and excerpts from Lawrence’s own comments on each of the series’s 60 paintings), and In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience . I’ve spent the afternoon with In Motion: it’s beautifully done, with some truly memorable illustrations – I highly recommend all three.

I confess to not having been too clear about the precise geography of the Black South Side – here is a pretty good map: from about 26th St. south to 63rd., and from Cottage Grove west to Wentworth – those were the ghetto’s rough boundaries. The Robert Taylor Homes were along State St., from 39th to 54th Streets. The Taylor Homes had about 4,300 units and at their overcrowded peak housed 27,000 blacks. The black population of Chicago in 1960 was 813,000, so despite their massive scale, Taylor housed only about 3% of Chicago’s blacks at most.

We also talked about blacks in jail – here are the numbers: the U. S. has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world (see here for details). About 743 adults per 100,000 were incarcerated at year-end 2009. For black, non-hispanic males, that figure is a remarkable 4,743 per 100,000, or about 4.75% – almost one out of twenty.

No class next week, of course. Please note that I added a chunk of reading from Darren Dochuk’s book, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt. There’s a PDF of the relevant section on the readings page of the blog. I also added a NY Times article to the Week 12 reading – it deals with the effect of the Great Recession on migration. It’s also linked in the reading session.

Tomorrow I’ll post my Week 11 notes, and notes for a new playlist to go with the Gregory and Malone readings. The songs are already up here – have fun with them and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

At one point today, Marty mentioned a film I showed in my 2008 study group on Harry Smith’s Anthology – Deep Blues, based on Robert Palmer’s book of the same name. Here’s the clip I think he was talking about – Junior Kimbrough playing deep blues in the Deep South. Please enjoy!


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