A student at the Westinghouse Industrial Vocation School on Chicago’s West Side. May 1973
“…A student at the Westinghouse Industrial Vocation School on Chicago’s West Side*. She is one of the nearly 1.2 million black people who make up over a third of the population of Chicago**. It is one of the many black faces in this project that portray life in all its seasons. The photos are portraits that reflect pride, love, beauty, hope, struggle, joy, hate, frustration, discontent, worship, and faith. She is a member of her race who is proud of her heritage.” caption by John H. White
*Westinghouse was demolished in 2009, and a new campus was completed at 3223 West Franklin Boulevard. No longer a Vocational School; it is now a selective enrollment, college preparatory high school. The former location of Westinghouse was a former candy factory, listed in the American Institute of Architects’ Guide to Chicago.
**as of the 2000 U.S. Census, the City of Chicago’s Black Population is 1.1 million, a very similar statistic to back in 1973. However, this data excludes suburban areas (whose African-American populations, in many cases, have swelled). Also of note: the 1970 population of Chicago was 3,620, 962. As of 2000, it was 2,896,016 people
NOTE: I included his original captions here; but I also included my own updates of said captions.
from the National Archives website:
From June through October 1973 and briefly during the spring of 1974, John H. White, a 28-year-old photographer with the Chicago Daily News, worked for the federal government photographing Chicago, especially the city’s African American community. As White reflected recently, he saw his assignment as “an opportunity to capture a slice of life, to capture history.”
Today, John White is a staff photographer with the Chicago Sun-Times. He has won hundreds of awards, and his work has been exhibited and published widely. In 1982 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
I am a big fan of John H. White’s photography. He has that magic ability to tell a whole story with one frame. click here for his website
taken from the National Archives and Records Administration Website
Hey, White Girl! Susan Gregory’s Chicago Story
The intersection of race and class. In Chicago. In the late 1960s. That’s the backdrop of a memoir (rather cheekily) titled “Hey, White Girl!” written by Susan Gregory (Norton, 1970).
In the book, teenage Susan transfers from well-heeled, suburban New Trier High School to attend infamous-even-then Marshall High School on Chicago’s West Side for her senior year.
What’s notable about this book is that save certain specificities (slang, style of dress, et al), the story would probably play out identically today: that’s how little race and class lines have shifted since then in the Windy City.
There are many notable moments in the book: some poignant, some funny, some perfect slices of Sixties Chicago.
Find a copy, if you dare. Definitely worth the search. It’s wild.
2 Comments | tags: Black Slang, books, Chicago Literature, Class, Hey White Girl, Marshall High School, New Trier High School, Race, sixties, Susan Gregory, west side, WVON | posted in Book Reviews, Books, Chicago Cultural History, Commentary, Printed Matters, Reviews, the Goodness