The Office of Multicultural Affairs at St. Olaf College will be hosting guest speaker, Dr. Mary Pattillo whose lecture will be on her book Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City
Mary Pattillo is the Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University. Her areas of interest include race and ethnicity, urban sociology, and qualitative methods. She is the author of two award-winning books, Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class, and Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. She co-editedImprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration, and has published numerous journal articles. Current research projects focus on housing and school choice policies. She is a founding board member of Urban Prep Charter Academies, Inc., a network of all-boys public high schools in Chicago.
Black on the Block: There was a time when North Kenwood–Oakland was plagued by gangs, drugs, violence, and the font of poverty from which they sprang. But in the late 1980s, activists rose up to tackle the social problems that had plagued the area for decades. Black on the Block tells the remarkable story of how these residents laid the groundwork for a revitalized and self-consciously black neighborhood that continues to flourish today. But theirs is not a tale of easy consensus and political unity, and here Pattillo teases out the divergent class interests that have come to define black communities like North Kenwood–Oakland. She explores the often heated battles between haves and have-nots, home owners and apartment dwellers, and newcomers and old-timers as they clash over the social implications of gentrification. Along the way, Pattillo highlights the conflicted but crucial role that middle-class blacks play in transforming such districts as they negotiate between established centers of white economic and political power and the needs of their less fortunate black neighbors.