Colloquium : The Future of Black Metropolis?

Mary Pattillo, Ph.D.Mary Pattillo, Ph.D.
Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
Northwestern University

Chicago’s Black population has declined by more people than the entire Black population of the city of Washington DC. Across the United States, Black people are less likely to live in majority Black neighborhoods than in the past. What is the future of Black neighborhoods in the U.S.? Pattillo uses the landmark 1945 book Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City by St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton as the launching point to consider the present and future of Black communities. Despite the facts of a shrinking population and the diffusion of Black neighborhoods, there are still important sites of Black community formation and production in Chicago. Pattillo argues that it is necessary to celebrate these places so as to forestall further displacement. She uses the city of Chicago as a laboratory and strives to be an expert on Chicago history, politics, and social life. In her book, Black Picket Fences (University of Chicago Press 1999), Pattillo investigated the economic, spatial, and cultural forces that affect child-rearing and youth socialization in a black middle class neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. Black Picket Fences won the Oliver Cromwell Cox Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association. In another book, Black on the Block (University of Chicago Press 2007), Pattillo focused on gentrification and public housing transformation in North Kenwood - Oakland on Chicago's South Side. The book developed the concepts of "middlemen" and "middlewomen," the roles that black professionals play in working alternatively to mediate or exacerbate racial and class inequality. It won the Robert Park Book Award and a proclamation from the City of Chicago. Current research projects include the effect of college match on racial and class stratification and the prevalence and impact of monetary sanctions in the Illinois criminal justice system.

Date: Friday, April 26, 2019
Time: 11.00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Location: Shalala Student Center (Senate Room 302)

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