An Autobiography of Black Chicago (Paperback)

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Few were more qualified than Dempsey Travis to write the history of African Americans in Chicago, and none would be able to do it with the same command of firsthand sources. This seminal paperback reissue of Travis's best-known work, An Autobiography of Black Chicago, depicts Chicago's African-American community through the personal experiences of Dempsey Travis, his family, and his circle. Starting with Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who was the first non-Native American to settle on the mouth of the Chicago River, and ending with Travis's own successes leading the city's NAACP chapter, organizing Martin Luther King's first march in the city, and providing equal housing opportunities for black Chicagoans, An Autobiography of Black Chicago is a comprehensive yet intimate history of African Americans in 20th-century Chicago.

About the Author

Dempsey Travis (1920-2009) was born and raised in Chicago. He was a real estate magnate, civil rights activist, jazz musician, and author. He graduated from Chicago's DuSable High School in 1939 and served in the army during World War II. He graduated from Roosevelt University in 1949 and received a degree from the School of Mortgage Banking at Northwestern University in 1969. He is the author of Views from the Back of the Bus and An Autobiography of Black Jazz, among many other books. He served as president of the Society of Midland Authors, as financial editor for Dollars and Sense magazine, and as a contributing writer to Ebony and The Black Scholar.

Praise For…


"His writing style is a refreshing departure from the trite and commonplace. [An Autobiography of Black Chicago] tells a great deal about the anatomy of a city that probably has never been adequately presented beforeHis biographical writing shows signs of literary brilliance and profound perception." Rolf A. Weil, former president, Roosevelt University

"Mr. Travis was a Horatio Alger, lift-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps figure who wielded his influence as a liaison between the business community and the political sphere to fight for social justice." Chicago Tribune

"An invaluable contribution to the written, folk, and oral history of African Americans in Chicago. [An Autobiography of Black Chicago] is 'must' reading." Margaret Burroughs, Ph.D., Co-Founder, DuSable Museum of African American History

"Travis brings real skill to the writing of [An Autobiography of Black Chicago]. His prose is lively and witty his historical understanding is deep and well grounded in fact...this is a fascinating book." William M. Tuttle, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, American Studies, University of Kansas

"Those wishing to understand power, authority, and leadership in Chicago will find [An Autobiography of Black Chicago] an excellent source book...Interestingly written study of Chicago, not just black Chicago." Robert L. Stuhr, Ph.D., former executive director, Economic Club of Chicago

"I was genuinely touched by this impassioned and informative history of a field in which I have spent my whole life. It is full of information, many tears, and much laughter. Dempsey Travis’s story is human jazz history in the raw, a fascinating social document which I found enriching and rewarding and I recommend it wholeheartedly." George Wein, Founder and Producer, Newport Jazz Festival

"Those who knew Dempsey Travis say there’s not much he did not do as a husband, real-estate investor, author, philanthropist, civil rights activist and entrepreneur." Wendell Huston, Chicago Defender

Product Details
ISBN: 9781932841671
ISBN-10: 1932841679
Publisher: Agate Bolden
Publication Date: February 11th, 2014
Pages: 400
Language: English