Black Metropolis

Richard WRIGHT   |   St. Clair DRAKE   |   Horace CAYTON

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Item#: 126353 price:$1,600.00

Black Metropolis
Black Metropolis

"A LANDMARK OF RESEARCH AND SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT" (RICHARD WRIGHT): DRAKE AND CAYTON'S BLACK METROPOLIS, 1945, INSCRIBED BY HORACE CAYTON, WITH INTRODUCTION BY RICHARD WRIGHT

(WRIGHT, Richard) DRAKE, St. Clair and CAYTON, Horace R. Black Metropolis. A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. With an Introduction by Richard Wright. New York: Harcourt, Brace, (1945). Thick octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $1600.

First edition of the signal work by preeminent African American sociologists Drake and Cayton, "one of the best urban studies produced by American scholarship" (New York Times), inscribed by Cayton, a close friend of Richard Wright, "To M— K— with regards, Horace R. Cayton."

A "foundational text in African American history, cultural studies and urban sociology," Black Metropolis began as a WPA project, with African American co-authors Drake and Cayton focusing on Chicago's South Side to document key aspects of black life, including the era's Great Migration, institutional and cultural segregation, the role of the black church and black press, and much more (Encyclopedia of African American History). In his introduction, Richard Wright hails it as "a landmark of research and scientific achievement." He evokes his novel, Native Son, published only five years earlier, to declare that Black Metropolis captures "the environment out of which the Bigger Thomases of our nation come." It is, he writes, "a scientific report upon the state of unrest… lodged in the innermost heart of America is a fatal division of being, a war of impulses. America knows that split is in her, and that that split might cause her death." Drake and Cayton, he asserts, have "presented much more than the anatomy of Negro frustration; they have shown how any human beings can become mangled… Black Metropolis is not a volume of mere facts. The basic facts are assumed… that the Negro's present position in the U.S. results from the oppression of Negroes by white people… That there is something wrong here only fools would deny" (emphasis in original). On publication Black Metropolis was praised as "a rare combination of research and synthesis, a book to be deeply pondered" (Nation). It is "a landmark of objective research and one of the best urban studies produced by American scholarship" (New York Times).

This copy is inscribed by co-author Horace Cayton, a leading sociologist "known for his studies of working class black Americans, particularly in mid-20th century Chicago." At his death in 1970 Cayton was "gathering material for a biography of his friend Richard Wright." Co-author Drake, who died in 1990, was "a pioneer in black studies," who went on to became director of Stanford University's African and Afro-American studies" (New York Times). Drake's distinguished career "was synonymous with the liberation struggles of the black world over the course of the 20th century" (Gaines, Scholar-Activist). First edition, first printing: with "First Edition" on copyright page; first-issue dust jacket with price of $5.00 on front flap. Containing numerous full-page and in-text graphs, tables and illustrations. Blockson 2378.

Book fine, very good dust jacket with shallow chipping to extremities, toning to spine.

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