Black Chicago’s First Century

Chicago mapChristopher Robert Reed’s Black Chicago’s First Century, 1833-1900, is now available in paperback.

Twenty-first-century readers might assume that a comprehensive history of early Chicago’s multifaceted African American population has existed for a while now. However, it was not until Christopher Reed published his book in 2005 that a written history became available. Now this history is available in paperback too.

“Christopher Robert Reed has gone through old Reed guardsnewspapers (including hard-to-find African American papers), oral histories, and a range of archival sources to provide an extraordinary overview of African American life in Chicago from the moment Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable settled his family by the Chicago River at roughly the location where present-day Michigan Avenue crosses it to the point in 1898 when African American troops marched out of the city on their way to fight in the Spanish-American War. The result is a complex look at a long and complicated history.”—Journal of American History

Reed on PBSSee Dr. Reed, a consultant on PBS’s documentary DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis, talk about Chicago’s first settler, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable’s French and entrepreneurial influence on the city.

Christopher Robert Reed is retired Professor of History at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His most important credential is his connection to the heart and soul of Chicago—its people and their history. He is a native Chicagoan who attempts to blend a love of place with a holistic, scholarly view of what made Chicago and its citizens behave as they have done and presently do—that is, dynamically. An original resident of the South Side’s historic Bronzeville community, he is a permanent resident of the city where he is active in civic, community and political affairs.

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