The Chicago Book Review has named Mark Fleisher’s ‘Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood’ as one of the best books of 2015.
Published by the University of Wisconsin Press, the book provides a perspective into the day-to-day world of the historic North End neighborhood of Champaign, Illinois, a community of real and enduring poverty, yet one which maintains a vibrant social life and strong ties among generations. The neighborhood operates on its own nonjudgmental terms—teen moms aren’t derided, school dropouts aren’t ridiculed, and parolees and ex-cons aren’t scorned. The book focuses in on the stories of Mo and Memphis Washington, who fight to sustain a stable home for their children, and of Burpee, a local man who has returned to the North End to rebuild his life after years of crime and punishment in Chicago.
Dr. Fleisher serves as a Research Faculty Member with the Begun Center at CWRU’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.
The Chicago Book Review wrote of the work: “Coming on the heels of a year of protests and violence in Chicago, Baltimore, Ferguson, and so many other cities and neighborhoods across the country, Living Black opens a window on a world that so many of us make assumptions about, succumbing to stereotyping without actually having any real experiences or relationships on which to base those assumptions and stereotypes.
“…Above all, Living Black is a human story, not necessarily an account of white vs black or haves vs havenots. This timely study offers a glimpse into a part of society that many of us choose to ignore. At a time when tolerance and understanding seem in short supply, Living Black should be required reading for anyone who could benefit from a look outside their own world into the world of others. Which is most of us.”