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In the Country of Women

Author: Susan Straight

Language: English

Summary: In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a white self-proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Continue reading “In the Country of Women”

White on arrival: Italians, race, color, and power in Chicago, 1890-1945

Author: Thomas A. Guglielmo

Language: English

Summary: Taking the mass Italian immigration of the late 19th century as his starting point and drawing on dozens of oral histories and a diverse array of primary sources in English and Italian, Guglielmo focuses on how perceptions of Italians’ race and color were shaped in one of America’s great centers of immigration and labor, Chicago. His account skillfully weaves together the major events of Chicago immigrant history–the “Chicago Color Riot” of 1919, the rise of Italian organized crime, and the rise of industrial unionism–with national and international events–such as the rise of fascism and the Italian-Ethiopian War of 1935-36–to present the story of how Italians approached, learned, and lived race. By tracking their evolving position in the city’s racial hierarchy, Guglielmo reveals the impact of racial classification–both formal and informal–on immigrants’ abilities to acquire homes and jobs, start families, and gain opportunities in America.  Source:

Continue reading “White on arrival: Italians, race, color, and power in Chicago, 1890-1945”