Smoketown the untold story of the other great Black Renaissance

by Whitaker, Mark,

Format: Kindle Book 2018 2018
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A brilliant, lively account of the Black Renaissance that burst forth in Pittsburgh from the 1920s through the 1950s—"Smoketown will appeal to anybody interested in black history and anybody who loves a good story...terrific, eminently readable...fascinating" (The Washington Post). Today black Pittsburgh is known as the setting for August Wilson's famed plays about noble, but doomed, working-class citizens. But this community once had an impact on American history that rivaled the far larger black worlds of Harlem and Chicago. It published the most widely read black newspaper in the country, urging black voters to switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party, and then rallying black support for World War II. It fielded two of the greatest baseball teams of the Negro Leagues and introduced Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Pittsburgh was the childhood home of jazz pioneers Billy Strayhorn, Billy Eckstine, Earl Hines, Mary Lou Williams, and Erroll Garner; Hall of Fame slugger Josh Gibson—and August Wilson himself. Some of the most glittering figures of the era were changed forever by the time they spent in the city, from Joe Louis and Satchel Paige to Duke Ellington and Lena Horne. Mark Whitaker's Smoketown is a "rewarding trip to a forgotten special place and time" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). It depicts how ambitious Southern migrants were drawn to a steel-making city on a strategic river junction; how they were shaped by its schools and a spirit of commerce with roots in the Gilded Age; and how their world was eventually destroyed by industrial decline and urban renewal. "Smoketown brilliantly offers us a chance to see this other Black Renaissance and spend time with the many luminaries who sparked it...It's thanks to such a gifted storyteller as Whitaker that this forgotten chapter of American history can finally be told in all its vibrancy and glory" (The New York Times Book Review).
Cast of characters
Map of Pittsburgh neighborhoods
The Brown Bomber's cornermen
The Negro Carnegies
The calculating crusader
The rise and fall of "Big Red"
Billy and Lena
The Double V warriors
The complex Mr. B
"Jackie's Boswell"
The women of "up south"
The bard of a broken world.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Former CNN and Newsweek editor Whitaker (Cosby: His Life and Times) rebounds from his controversial Cosby biography with an informative and illuminating account of Smoketown, an African-American community in Pittsburgh. Centered in the city's Hill District, Smoketown thrived from the 1920s to the '50s. Though Smoketown was smaller than New York's Harlem or Chicago's South Side, Whitaker compares the flourishing enclave where his grandparents lived to "fifteenth-century Florence and early-twentieth-century Vienna: a miraculous flowering of social and cultural achievement." Smoketown's culture was made possible, Whitaker writes, by the great migration from the South and the city's exceptional educational opportunities. Whitaker writes of such prominent Smoketown figures as Robert L. Vann, publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier, the most widely read black newspaper in America; playwright August Wilson, who celebrated the power of community "whether in the ordinary life of rooming houses and jitney stations, or in the grandest accomplishments of the Hill District in its heyday." He also acknowledges Smoketown's contributions to the sports world, including boxer Joe Louis and baseball stars Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, and profiles musical icons Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, and Billy Strayhorn, as well as photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris. Whitaker shines a well-deserved and long-overdue spotlight on this city within a city. Maps & photos. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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Additional Information
Subjects African Americans Pennsylvania Pittsburgh History
African Americans Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Intellectual life
African Americans Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Social conditions 20th century
African American athletes Pennsylvania Pittsburgh
Jazz musicians Pennsylvania Pittsburgh
African Americans Intellectual life 20th century
African American Nonfiction
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Intellectual life 20th century.
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Civilization.
Electronic books.
20th century.
Publisher [Place of publication not identified] :Simon & Schuster2018
Other Titles Untold story of the other great Black Renaissance
Contributors OverDrive, Inc.
Language English
System Details Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Format: Adobe EPUB eBook
Format: Kindle Book
Format: OverDrive Read
Requires Adobe Digital Editions or Amazon Kindle
Description 1 online resource
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9781501122439
Other Classic View