Main Article Content
As an urban historian, I was pleased to see that Leon Kimble, Associate Professor of History at Chicago State University, has started his study of Bronzeville in 1935, and not in the manner that has become almost holy writ of works on black Chicago—with descriptions of the original ghetto created by the Great Migration. Kimble attributes his choice to his grandmother and her stories of Chicago. Born in Chicago in 1926, she told stories that were “neither of the Great Migration nor of the American South” (p. ix). Freed from this earlier history of “disfranchisement and powerlessness,” Kimble can focus on black Chicagoans as citizens of the city and the U.S., and not as southern migrants making the transition to citizenship. Having that perspective, I believe, brings into focus what was happening in Chicago to working-class African Americans without the constant reference to another region.