Black Writing from Chicago

Cover for Black Writing from ChicagoBlack Writing from Chicago: In the World, Not of It? takes readers on a cultural trip through Chicago’s literary history. Editor Richard R. Guzman compiles the first comprehensive collection of the works of Chicago’s black writers from 1861 to the present day.  It has been called “impressive,” “fascinating,” and “a work of great importance, and a sheer delight to read.”



 Read major REVIEWS and listen to an NPR Radio INTERVIEW with Dr. Guzman.

  Go to a list of Black Writers, which takes you to much-expanded introductions to every writer in the book, and read Carolyn Rodger’s Foreword and Dr. Guzman’s Introduction and Afterword.

 Learn about the book’s relationship to Bryan Emmanuel Guzman (1985-2006), Dr. Guzman’s youngest son, and about a living memorial to him: Emmanuel House, a social change organization which helps lift the working poor out of poverty.  In 2016 Emmanuel House was named one of the “Top 100” social change organizations in the world.


Black Writing from Chicago includes more than sixty writers—from the anonymous “J. W. M. (Colored)” writing in 1861 to contemporary poet Ken Green—in works of poetry, newspaper pieces, fiction, drama, essays, history, and social commentary.  The anthology not only unfolds a broad story reflecting the significance of Chicago to black literature and American history, but it also focuses tightly on controversies about the black relationship to U.S. society, a society whose identity has come so much from black culture, but which has so often shut black people out.  Hence the book’s subtitle: In the World, Not of It?  In addition to its comprehensive, provocative Introduction and Afterword, each author’s selection is preceded by a biographical and analytical essay. Readers interested in Chicago, race relations, and literature, as well as scholars of history, sociology, urban studies, and cultural studies, will find the collection invaluable.

 Return to the BOOKS page of this site, and note especially another Chicago book Smokestacks and Skyscrapers: An Anthology of Chicago Writing.

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