Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Christopher Robert Reed  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1942 in Chicago, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Reed was born and raised in Chicago. He lives there still today.

Biographical and Professional Information

Christopher Robert Reed is a professor emeritus of history and a former director of the St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is the author of five books.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Rise of Chicago's Black Metropolis, 1920-1929 (New Black Studies Series)
ISBN: 0252080106

University of Illinois Press. 2014

During the Roaring '20s, African Americans rapidly transformed their Chicago into a "black metropolis." In this book, Christopher Robert Reed describes the rise of African Americans in Chicago's political economy, bringing to life the fleeting vibrancy of this dynamic period of racial consciousness and solidarity.

Reed shows how African Americans rapidly transformed Chicago and achieved political and economic recognition by building on the massive population growth after the Great Migration from the South, the entry of a significant working class into the city's industrial work force, and the proliferation of black churches. Mapping out the labor issues and the struggle for control of black politics and black business, Reed offers an unromanticized view of the entrepreneurial efforts of black migrants, reassessing previous accounts such as St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton's 1945 study Black Metropolis.

Utilizing a wide range of historical data, The Rise of Chicago's Black Metropolis, 1920–1929 delineates a web of dynamic social forces to shed light on black businesses and the establishment of a black professional class. The exquisitely researched volume draws on fictional and nonfictional accounts of the era, black community guides, mainstream and community newspapers, contemporary scholars and activists, and personal interviews.

Knock at the Door of Opportunity: Black Migration to Chicago, 1900-1919
ISBN: 0809333333

Southern Illinois University Press. 2014

Disputing the so-called ghetto studies that depicted the early part of the twentieth century as the nadir of African American society, this thoughtful volume by Christopher Robert Reed investigates black life in turn-of-the-century Chicago, revealing a vibrant community that grew and developed on Chicago’s South Side in the early 1900s. Reed also explores the impact of the fifty thousand black southerners who streamed into the city during the Great Migration of 1916–1918, effectively doubling Chicago’s African American population. Those already residing in Chicago’s black neighborhoods had a lot in common with those who migrated, Reed demonstrates, and the two groups became unified, building a broad community base able to face discrimination and prejudice while contributing to Chicago’s growth and development.

Reed not only explains how Chicago’s African Americans openly competed with white people for jobs, housing and an independent political voice but also examines the structure of the society migrants entered and helped shape. Other topics include South Side housing, black politics and protest, the role of institutionalized religion, the economic aspects of African American life,

the push for citizenship rights and political power for African Americans, and the impact of World War I and the race riot of 1919. The first comprehensive exploration of black life in turn-of-the-century Chicago beyond the mold of a ghetto perspective, this revealing work demonstrates how the melding of migrants and residents allowed for the building of a Black Metropolis in the 1920s.


2015

ISHS Superior Achievement Award

The Depression Comes to the South Side: Protest and Politics in the Black Metropolis, 1930-1933 (Blacks in the Diaspora)
ISBN: 0253356520

Indiana University Press. 2011

In the 1920s, the South Side was looked on as the new Black Metropolis, but by the turn of the decade that vision was already in decline―a victim of the Depression. In this timely book, Christopher Robert Reed explores early Depression-era politics on Chicago's South Side. The economic crisis caused diverse responses from groups in the black community, distinguished by their political ideologies and stated goals. Some favored government intervention, others reform of social services. Some found expression in mass street demonstrations, militant advocacy of expanded civil rights, or revolutionary calls for a complete overhaul of the capitalist economic system. Reed examines the complex interactions among these various groups as they played out within the community as it sought to find common ground to address the economic stresses that threatened to tear the Black Metropolis apart.

Black Chicago's First Century: 1833-1900
ISBN: 082621570X

University of Missouri. 2005

In Black Chicago’s First Century, Christopher Robert Reed provides the first comprehensive study of an African American population in a nineteenth-century northern city beyond the eastern seaboard. Reed’s study covers the first one hundred years of African American settlement and achievements in the Windy City, encompassing a range of activities and events that span the antebellum, Civil War, Reconstruction, and post-Reconstruction periods. The author takes us from a time when black Chicago provided both workers and soldiers for the Union cause to the ensuing decades that saw the rise and development of a stratified class structure and growth in employment, politics, and culture. Just as the city was transformed in its first century of existence, so were its black inhabitants.

Methodologically relying on the federal pension records of Civil War soldiers at the National Archives, as well as previously neglected photographic evidence, manuscripts, contemporary newspapers, and secondary sources, Reed captures the lives of Chicago’s vast army of ordinary black men and women. He places black Chicagoans within the context of northern urban history, providing a better understanding of the similarities and differences among them. We learn of the conditions African Americans faced before and after Emancipation. We learn how the black community changed and developed over time: we learn how these people endured—how they educated their children, how they worked, organized, and played. Black Chicago’s First Century is a balanced and coherent work. Anyone with an interest in urban history or African American studies will find much value in this book.

"All the World Is Here!": The Black Presence at White City
ISBN: 0253335663

Indiana University Press. 1999

The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago showed the world that America had come of age. Dreaming that they could participate fully as citizens, African Americans flocked to the fair by the thousands. ""All the World Is Here!"" examines why they came and the ways in which they took part in the Exposition. Their expectations varied. Well-educated, highly assimilated African Americans sought not just representation but also membership at the highest level of decision making and planning. They wanted to participate fully in all intellectual and cultural events. Instead, they were given only token roles and used as window dressing. Their stories of pathos and joy, disappointment and hope, are part of the lost history of ""White City."" Frederick Douglass, who embodied the dream that inclusion within the American mainstream was possible, would never forget America's World's Fair snub.


Awards

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