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Erik Gellman
Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL 60605-1394)
Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles through the Lens of Art Shay

Combining analysis of the northern civil rights movement with hundreds of unpublished images by documentary photographer Art Shay, the book makes visible the complex history of black migration, urban crisis, and political activism in postwar Chicago.

Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles through the Lens of Art Shay fuses photography and historical narrative to explain how, a half-century ago, racial and economic inequalities gave rise to a pitched struggle to define the terms of democracy in the modern American city. Troublemakers will feature 190 never-before-published images of a complex and dynamic metropolis captured by one of America’s most accomplished photographers. These photographs will accompany a series of essays grounded in archival and secondary research that complicates – and even upends – the morality tales and popular memory of freedom struggles during the three decades following the Second World War. In print and online, Troublemakers will provide a synthetic textual and visual narrative of American urban history and protest politics that speaks to the dramatic efforts, past and present, to end the urban crisis for the common good.

Project fields:
Arts, Other; U.S. History; Urban History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$37,800 (approved)
$37,800 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 5/31/2017