Black Culture In Bronzeville

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When Jean Baptiste Point du Sable founded Chicago in 1790, his presence as a free man of African descent ironically foreshadowed the dream of many African Americans in the South seeking liberation in the modernized North during the Great Migration. Unlike southern blacks migrating to Chicago, du Sable quite possibly had no preceding recollection of the city he established. Yet his existence as a free man of color in the North, who was self-sufficient economically with diminutive antagonisms from whites attempting to regulate his sense of agency, reveals an emblematic prophecy for the many blacks that would eventually migrate to the city centuries later. With their geographic imaginaries sculpted by the existing black Chicagoans who painted…show more content…
The emergence of black culture in Chicago revealed that African Americans were ‘normal’ and had their own culture and social norms like other Americans. This supported racial democracy by helping to legitimize the image of African Americans showing that some blacks had ‘made it’ and were able to escape the ills of the black ghetto through hard work. This was also a clear example of black achievement despite significant obstacles that bought supported ‘one pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.’ Also, black music and literature humanized and documented the narratives of the residents that black middle class women were assisting through social democracy. John Johnson’s Ebony magazine helped to show the fullness of black life challenges faced by blacks from different class backgrounds in a way that was safe enough for whites to engage indirectly while learning about the black experience (Green). Mahalia Jackson also reflected a similar example helping to building black cultural equity by singing about black life from a working class perspective ultimately that translated to cultural and social capital. Black culture also helped bring modernity to the black metropolis while ‘redefining (the) black community,’ according to Adam Green in Selling the Race. Bronzeville was never meant to be static and therefore, black cultural…show more content…
Although the idea of Bronzeville was extremely ambitious and had many internal and external conflicts that prevented it from materializing, the greater ideology behind the dream is crucial to understanding what is needed for black American equality. Bronzeville was an urban laboratory that showcased the need for blacks to have their own economic, political and social institutions and infrastructures that would help the race advance collectively and have proper representation in the larger economy and political processes of America. European immigrants were able to assimilate into the white dominant culture and receive large gains in housing, the labor market, political representation and education, which prevented them from leaving behind such a large permanent underclass like African Americans. Although using racial democracy to advance the race did not reveal the internal class divisions of Bronzeville, it could have been useful if coupled with social democracy because each ideology could have tackled the many obstacles African Americans faced on a holistic level. As stated by Preston Smith II in Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis, “Success against racial discrimination did not guarantee success against class stratification
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