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Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  168 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
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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Feb 11, 2011 Gloria rated it it was amazing
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.
Brady Dale
From a roundup review I did at the end of 2013 on NextCity.

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 ke
Aug 24, 2013 Anthony rated it liked it
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
Julie Garza-withers
May 22, 2014 Julie Garza-withers rated it it was amazing
My favorite book from undergrad Sociology.
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.
Michelle Farley
Jul 31, 2012 Michelle Farley rated it really liked it
Although I enjoyed this book, it seems a little dated now. I'd love to see an updated study of the same area of Chicago.
Jun 17, 2011 Nakia rated it liked it
I read this in college. I think I want to read it again. Gotta see if I ever sold it back or if it's on my bookshelf somewhere.
Mar 09, 2011 Jillian rated it really liked it
Very interesting study on the black middle class.
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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.” 2 likes
“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.” 1 likes
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