Freedom's Ballot: African American Political Struggles in Chicago from Abolition to the Great Migration

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 28, 2014 - History - 304 pages
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In the spring of 1915, Chicagoans elected the city’s first black alderman, Oscar De Priest. In a city where African Americans made up less than five percent of the voting population, and in a nation that dismissed and denied black political participation, De Priest’s victory was astonishing. It did not, however, surprise the unruly group of black activists who had been working for several decades to win representation on the city council.

Freedom’s Ballot is the history of three generations of African American activists—the ministers, professionals, labor leaders, clubwomen, and entrepreneurs—who transformed twentieth-century urban politics. This is a complex and important story of how black political power was institutionalized in Chicago in the half-century following the Civil War. Margaret Garb explores the social and political fabric of Chicago, revealing how the physical makeup of the city was shaped by both political corruption and racial empowerment—in ways that can still be seen and felt today.
 

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Contents

From Party to Race
1
One History Memory and One Mans Vote
15
Two Setting Agendas Demanding Rights and the Black Press
49
Three Womens Rights the Worlds Fair and Activists on the National Stage
83
Four Challenging Urban Space Organizing Labor
117
Five Virtue Vice and Building the Machine
147
Six Representation and Race Men
187
Epilogue Film History and the Birth of a Black Political Culture
223
Acknowledgments
233
African American Political Leaders 18701920
235
Election Results for Mayoral and Aldermanic Candidates in the First Second and Third Wards 19001920
239
Notes
247
Index
291
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About the author (2014)

Margaret Garb is associate professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis.

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