AReview of ‘Black Metropolis’ by St. Clair Drake &amp Horace R.Cayton

Thisbook offers a suitable handbook for learning and understanding thehistory of the south side of Chicago. Being initially published inthe year 1945, it has provided a suitable product of many years ofduly teamwork between WPA survey researchers and University ofChicago sociologists, moreover the university of Chicago press hasreissued it in an attractive edition (Drake, St. Clair, Horace RoscoeCayton, Richard 98). The book illustrates the Black Belt’s uniqueperception since it was from these concise halcyon days during the1920s via its tough and hugely victorious fight to maintain itsdignity in the long depression years. The document illustrates theold notion that when things change more, they tend to remain the samedespite the fact that they seem to get worse.

‘BlackMetropolis’ bears one single purpose to show the scenario ofChicago’s black life on a clear, honest and less of terminologystance. In the present day, it may be unimaginable to stage a mainpiecework of sociology in such comprehensible hypotheses andexcellent theory, so unembellished by the trinkets of statistics thatare fancy. During the years after the end of World War One,University of Chicago researchers came up with reports of that kindmostly concerning their city. The study of the culture of blacks byDrake and Cayton has demonstrated a tradition that is both objectiveand humane.

Abovethe underdeveloped outgrowths of the scorched scientism, the authors’explanation of the south part appears abundant and all encompassingeven though surpassed by so many years (Drake, St. Clair, and HoraceR. Cayton 99). The book demonstrates vividly the life in the slums ofthis city slum basements, the smell of frying bacon, scratching ofrats behind the wall, old garages that are lighted up and resembletabernacles during the early morning hours, the desperate, thehopeful, storefront churches and demonstrate how the politicschanged. The authors also widely use the term Bronzeville, whichrefers to the city in a city.

Thebook, ‘Black Metropolis’ is written in a relaxed style and abovethis Drake and Cayton have employed the use of a refreshing voice.The current situation is that people expect any discussions regardingthe black family life, religion, crime or prejudice to result in mostoppressive racial situations, but this book provides no single pointof bringing resentment, fear or disdain despite its clear purpose oftalking about such sensitive issues. The authors clearly and plainlyrelay the primary realities of Bronzeville life in a tone that isbalanced, absolutely scientific and rational (Drake, St. Clair, andHorace R. Cayton 101).

Thougha lot in Chicago has changed, mistrust and racial acrimony stillexist and not all that has changed is beneficial. Currently, theplaces that poorest blacks inhibit, the combination of better housesand neglected ones, buildings that have been abandoned, tough jobs,huge open spaces and public projects, are extensive, more cut off andextremely more risky than what early slums used to be (Drake100).Drake and Cayton work provide the point of reference for individualsto comprehend what took place and demonstrates the existing facts andhow fundamental concerns such as assimilation, segregation, familyand crime were being discussed during the 1940s. Till today, theseissues are hotly argued and though old, Black Metropolis is up to nowevidently robust. The reason may be because the book provides nosolutions since its purpose is to describe and not to reform itfurther does not point a blame figure to any person.


Drake,St. Clair, Horace Roscoe Cayton, Richard Wright, and EverettCherrington Hughes. Blackmetropolis a study of negro life in a northern city..New York: Harper and Row, 1962. Print.

Drake,St. Clair, and Horace R. Cayton. Blackmetropolis a study of Negro life in a northern city.[Rev. and enl. ed. New York: Harper &amp Row, 1962. Print.