Popular fronts : Chicago and African-American cultural politics, 1935-46 /

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Main Author: Mullen, Bill, 1959-
Format: Book
Published:Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1999.
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Review by Choice Review

Mullen (Youngstown State Univ.) marries investigation and a well-executed idea of story in this well-researched piece of scholarship on black art, black literature and literary publications, and the cultural politics of Chicago's African American community. For African Americans, the cultural realm has always been an important front in their campaign for social, political, and racial equality, and Chicago's "Bronzeville" in the years leading up to and during WW II has a history both representative and singular. Starting with an examination of the long shadow of Richard Wright and his involvement with communism and the Negro People's Front, Mullen moves on to the Chicago Defender and its importance as a voice for expressing and molding black opinion in and beyond Chicago. Subsequent chapters reveal the story of the South Side Community Arts Center and cultural workers such as artist Charles White and poet Gwendolyn Brooks; the influence of the short-lived Negro Story magazine and the importance of the short story as a vehicle for radical black literary and political expression; an analysis of Brooks's A Street in Bronzeville; and the waning of black radicalism after the war. A postscript addresses the contemporary scene. Highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate academic collections. C. P. Hill University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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