Precarious Space and Chicago in Flux—A Review of “Making Mexican Chicago”

Amezcua, Mike. Making Mexican Chicago: From Postwar Settlement to the Age of Gentrification. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022. Reviewed by Emiliano Aguilar In December 2019 the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) received considerable backlash for painting over murals at the 18th Street Pink Line station. The murals—painted in 1998 by a partnership of artist Francisco […]

Read More

An Ode to the Afro-American Patrolmen’s League Collection

By Julius L. Jones The history of African Americans on the Chicago Police Department (CPD) begins in 1871. The same year the Great Chicago Fire destroyed approximately three-and-a-half square miles of the city, leaving 100,000 people unhoused, James L. Shelton was appointed the first African American member of CPD. Since then, African Americans have served […]

Read More

Unlocking Chicago’s History: A Guide to City Government Records

By Joshua Salzmann and Emiliano Aguilar In the fall of 2021, Northeastern Illinois University launched a web-based guide to help scholars conduct research using the city government records of Chicago. A product of the industrial age, Chicago is a lens through which scholars examine signal events of the past two centuries: industrialization; urbanization; class conflict; […]

Read More

The Dynamics and Contradictions of Gentrification — A Review of The Battle of Lincoln Park

Hertz, Daniel Kay. The Battle of Lincoln Park: Urban Renewal and Gentrification in Chicago. Cleveland: Belt Publishing, 2018. Reviewed by David J. Goodwin As COVID-19 swept across the United States, every news cycle seemed to carry stories of affluent residents fleeing big cities for rural hamlets. As many white-collar workers settled into working remotely, suburban […]

Read More

“Entrepreneurial Greed” — A Review of Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed

Farber, David. Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Reviewed by Kim Hewitt In Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed, David Farber does dual duty—first recapping contemporary drug policies and then tracing the US history of cocaine use and cocaine business operations. The […]

Read More

Rage and Despair in Chicago: A Review of An American Summer

Kotlowitz, Alex. An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago. New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2019. Reviewed by Sara Paretsky The demonstrations that swept America in the wake of George Floyd’s murder seemed to show that the country had reached a tipping point: centuries after the enslavement of Africans arrived in the New World, a majority of […]

Read More

Building the Chicago Police State: A Review of Occupied Territory

By Davarian L. Baldwin Balto, Simon. Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2019. By 2015, Chicago had become a symbol of the broken relationship between Black communities and the law enforcement apparatus. Outrage over the massive police cover-up of Laquan McDonald’s killing […]

Read More

Neglected Gems: Chicago Made

By Richard Harris Robert Lewis. 2008. Chicago Made. Factory Networks in the Industrial Metropolis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Many fine works are neglected because they treat a subject that is important but unfashionable. Chicago Made falls squarely into that category. Now not all of the overlap between urban and business historians has been neglected. […]

Read More

The Needle of the Nation: Eric Michael Rhodes on Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s Race for Profit

“He sits upon the landlord’s operating table, the needle of the nation sucking his soul.” —Henry Dumas Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2019. By Eric Michael Rhodes When Michael Bloomberg blamed the end of redlining for […]

Read More