For over a half century, perhaps the best scholarly work exploring African American life in large, industrialized, northern cities with expanding populations has been St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton's Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945). However, a formal history examining businesses as part of an institutional structure, the role of a professional class, religion and the church, and political organization was never undertaken in Black Metropolis. The present volume presents the contributing factors that produced the contemporarily recognized dynamism of the period between 1920 and 1929 as well as the many impediments encountered. Hindsight has produced a view of life in this vibrant area of settlement, one that was not yet the “ghetto” that future historians in the 1960s would envision and write about.
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