What does democracy look like? And when should we cause trouble to pursue it?
In this virtual conversation with the Newberry's Brad Hunt, Erik S. Gellman will shed light on these questions by discussing his new book, Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through the Lens of Art Shay, which fuses history and photography to illuminate how racial and economic inequality gave rise to a decades-long struggle for justice in Chicago.
Featuring 250 photographs by twentieth-century photographer Art Shay, a self-conscious “troublemaker” who sought to unsettle society by illuminating truths that many white middle-class figures chose to ignore, Gellman’s book takes a new look at major developments in postwar US history: the Second Great Migration, “white flight,” and neighborhood and street conflicts, as well as shifting party politics and the growth of the carceral state. The result is a visual and written history that complicates—and even upends—the morality tales and popular memory of postwar freedom struggles.
Join us as Gellman offers a fresh and timely look at how social conflict can shape a city—and even inspire us to make trouble ourselves.
About the Speaker:
Erik S. Gellman is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he researches and teaches about working-class and urban life, visual culture, and comparative social movements in modern American history. He’s the author of Death Blow to Jim Crow: The National Negro Congress and the Rise of Militant Civil Rights (UNC Press, 2012) and The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor’s Southern Prophets in New Deal America (University of Illinois Press, 2011, co-authored by Jarod Roll). From 2006-2018, Gellman taught history and African American studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Brad Hunt is the Vice President for Research and Academic Programs at the Newberry. He is the co-author, with Jon B. DeVries, of Planning Chicago (American Planning Association Planners Press, 2013), and of Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing (University of Chicago Press, 2009). He received his PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley.
This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Collections Consortium.
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