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Chicago's South Side, 1946-1948 Hardcover – September 28, 2000
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After working as a combat photographer during World War II, Miller wanted a project that would document universal truths about humans and chose to photograph the lives of Chicago's black migrants from the rural South who'd come to the industrial North, lured by the promise of jobs. They came to populate the city's Black Belt in Chicago's industrial heyday and the height of racial segregation. Miller offers powerful images of close and cramped lives in tenements but conveys the vitality and energy of a people in search of a better life. The subjects are mostly ordinary people in pool halls, in churches, at work, and in tiny kitchenettes, living lives of poverty, struggle, want, and passion. Miller, a white photographer, was able to overcome mistrust with introductions from black journalists and photographers and his own ability to convey his desire to document the lives of his subjects. This is a remarkable and vivid recollection of a time and place that was the setting of the novel Native Son, the play A Raisin in the Sun, and the sociological work Black Metropolis. Vanessa Bush
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"A long-overdue contribution to the photographic literature of the period known as the Great Migration." -- Chicago Tribune
"Miller's ability to fade into the background as he captures real life is consummate." -- Columbus Dispatch
"Miller's beautifully composed, intimate pictures are finally collected...intense glimpses of a bygone era." -- Travel & Leisure magazine
"Miller's pictures . . . have . . . the unforced, uncontrived beauty of people who are largely unaware of how beautiful they are." -- Feature in Nova magazine, UK
"Miller's work is intimate but never presumptuous." -- New York Times Book Review
"These pictures . . . capture the emotions and intimacy of everyday life . . . as blacks flooded into postwar Chicago." -- Chicago Tribune
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Top customer reviews
Only criticism (and this is purely idiosyncratic reflecting my interests) I'd have liked more of the obscure musicians in the local bars and Maxwell Street and less of the popular name artists like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald etc.. But I'm sure most readers would prefer the headliners anyway! A marvellous evocation of Black Chicago in the early post-war years.