Chapter 18. The Chicago Renaissance

  1. Gene Andrew Jarrett Associate Professor of English former Acting Director
  1. Michelle Yvonne Gordon Assistant Professor of English

Published Online: 30 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444323474.ch18

A Companion to African American Literature

A Companion to African American Literature

How to Cite

Gordon, M. Y. (2010) The Chicago Renaissance, in A Companion to African American Literature (ed G. A. Jarrett), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444323474.ch18

Editor Information

  1. Boston University, England

Author Information

  1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 9 APR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405188623

Online ISBN: 9781444323474



  • reforming the canon, tradition, and criticism of African American Literature: the contemporary period, c.1940–present;
  • the Chicago renaissance;
  • Chicago Renaissance - describing a tremendous flowering of African American arts and letters between the mid-1930s and the mid-1950s;
  • Chicago Renaissance - featuring major and minor black writers of the twentieth century;
  • art and writing of the Chicago Renaissance - important part of black Chicago's organized mass protests and cultural responses to the Great Depression of the 1930s;
  • the South Side Writers' Group (SSWG) - first organization of Chicago Renaissance writers;
  • economic crises of the Great Depression - diminished private white patronage for black arts, gave rise to the federal government's massive funding programs for the nation's writers and artists;
  • literature produced during the Chicago Renaissance - focused heavily on racial themes, and elaborated upon elements of black folk and popular culture;
  • School of Wright - focused so heavily on Wright's work and politics that they have come


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Notes

  • Bibliography