South Side Girls - Author Talk with Marcia Chatelain

South Side Author Talk with Marcia Chatelain

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This author talk is part of the Gender + Justice Events Series: Through films, discussions & author talks, this series seeks to center a feminist lens on the shared perspectives, experiences and voices of women in social movements.

In South Side Girls Marcia Chatelain recasts Chicago's Great Migration through the lens of black girls. Focusing on the years between 1910 and 1940, when Chicago's black population quintupled, Chatelain describes how Chicago's black social scientists, urban reformers, journalists and activists formulated a vulnerable image of urban black girlhood that needed protecting. She argues that the construction and meaning of black girlhood shifted in response to major economic, social, and cultural changes and crises, and that it reflected parents' and community leaders' anxieties about urbanization and its meaning for racial progress. Girls shouldered much of the burden of black aspiration, as adults often scrutinized their choices and behavior, and their well-being symbolized the community's moral health. Yet these adults were not alone in thinking about the Great Migration, as girls expressed their views as well. Referencing girls' letters and interviews, Chatelain uses their powerful stories of hope, anticipation and disappointment to highlight their feelings and thoughts, and in so doing, she helps restore the experiences of an understudied population to the Great Migration's complex narrative.

Dr. Marcia Chatelain is Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University. Chaitelain, previously on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma's Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College, researches a wide array of issues in African-American history. Dr. Chatelain writes and teaches about African-American migration, women's and girls' history, and race and food. Dr. Chatelain has served on the boards of the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma and the University of Missouri's Student Affairs division. Dr. Chatelain is a member of the British Council's Transatlantic Network 2020, a 2000 Harry S. Truman Scholar, an alumna and honoree of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life, and a 2011 German Marshall Fund of the U.S. Fellow. In 2012, Dr. Chatelain was awarded an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined) and a Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her second book, which examines the relationship between communities of color and fast food, has received grants from the Duke University Libraries and the Frances E. Summersell Center for the Study of the South at the University of Alabama. In 2014, Dr. Chatelain created#fergusonsyllabus to encourage educators to discuss the national crisis in Ferguson, Missouri.