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Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class
Black Picket Fences is a stark, moving, and candid look at a section of America that is too often ignored by both scholars and the media: the black middle class. The result of living for three years in "Groveland," a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, sociologist Mary Pattillo-McCoy has written a book that explores both the advantages and the boundari ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by University Of Chicago Press
(first published October 1st 1999)
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Pattillo is one of the favorite authors of our instructors. We have read from her works several times. She grew up middle class and wanted to answer the question why did she finish school and become a professional and why did too many of her classmates go down a more dire road? He answer is the stark differences between the white and black middle classes. The black middle class still has close ties to the lower class. It's an eye opening look at what is gong in America.
From a roundup review I did at the end of 2013 on NextCity.
What I wrote about this book:
What I wrote about this book:
Black Picket Fences is a reissue. Pattillo completed her research for the first volume in 1999, and recently revisited her subject cohort in order to issue this update, with an extended afterword where she catches us up with some of its characters.
Pattillo, a sociologist, takes as her subject the Groveland neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Her original volume dealt with the pressure of white racism to kee
After moving to East Harlem and becoming surrounded by a decidedly different demographic than the Morningside Heights population, I wanted to find a book that would offer a modern appraisal of urban poverty and growth in primarily black America. After a brief Amazon search of well-recommended books, I came across Black Picket Fences which is a sociologist's case study of black middle class America, set in Groveland, a South Side Chicago suburb where 99% of the population is black. While Pattillo ...more
Mar 14, 2008 Leslie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: agents of change
Recommended to Leslie by: Dr. King, my professor- not so much recommended as required
This is an eye-opening account of a middle class, black neighborhood in suburban Chicago. Shows how the black middle class is closely tied with the lower class, moreso than in the white community. I enjoyed the first hand accounts from the citizens of Groveland. Important sociological work.
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“The black middle class displays a torn ambivalence toward the situation of the black poor. They sympathetically recognize the harms of racism and targeted inequality while simultaneously pointing an accusatory finger at the individual faults of their poor friends, relatives, and neighbors.”
“African Americans, like other groups, have always tried to translate upward class mobility into geographic mobility, but remain physically and psychically close to the poorer neighborhoods they leave behind.”More quotes…