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June 2004
432 pages  

6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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The WPA History of the Negro in Pittsburgh
Glasco, Laurence
The first publication of a reclaimed WPA project studying Pittsburgh’s black population. The book features articles on civil rights, social class, lifestyle, culture, folklore, and institutions, from colonial times through the 1930s.

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Laurence Glasco is associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Ethnicity and Social Structure: Irish, Germans, and Native-Born of Buffalo, N.Y., 1850–1860 and editor of The WPA History of the Negro in Pittsburgh.
"Offers the most comprehensive single study of the city’s black population to date. . . . Glasco’s introduction pinpoints the strengths and weaknesses in the manuscript, offers brilliant biographical notes on its principal contributors, and places the manuscript within the broader historical context of the New Deal."—Joe W. Trotter, Carnegie Mellon University

"A fascinating, and in many ways unique, perspective on the history of an African American community in the urban North."—Kenneth Kusmer, Temple University

“What an absorbing, engaging, from-the-bottom-up history of African descendants in Pittsburgh! It is a history with imagery, joy, disappointment, hope, vision, and, of course, voice—a story of a people told by the people. The editor has made a masterstroke with the use of research results and analysis from the ‘Negro in Pittsburgh’ study from the Depression-era Federal Writers’ Project.”—Multicultural Review

“This book is a treasure trove of information for persons interested in more than the bland partial synopsis of American history that is taught in most public schools. . . . The entire book is a must read for American historians, genealogists, folklorists, musicologists, and others. . . . Highly recommended!”—Western PA Genealogical Society Quarterly

“Not only tells the history of African Americans in Pittsburgh from the colonial era through the 1930s, but also exqisitely captures the perspective of the period in which it was created.”—Pennsylvania Heritage, Spring 2004

“While much work remains to be done to explore the African American experience in Pittsburgh, this volume provides readers with information as well as an opportunity to reenter another time and place. . . . Recommended. All levels/libraries.”—Choice

“Never has a chronicle, which sweeps from Colonial times through the 1930s, gathered so much information in such a fashion. Much of it offers tender and heartbreaking details about how the Negro lived and dreamed in the old industrial city on the banks of three rivers. . . . Remarkable and certainly important to anyone who might care about the history of the Negro in Pittsburgh.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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The monumental American Guide Series, published by the Federal Writers’ Project, provided work to thousands of unemployed writers, editors, and researchers in the midst of the Great Depression. Featuring books on states, cities, rivers, and ethnic groups, it also opened an unprecedented view into the lives of the American people during this time. Untold numbers of projects in progress were lost when the program was abruptly shut down by a hostile Congress in 1939. One of those, "The Negro in Pittsburgh," lay dormant in the Pennsylvania State Library until it was microfilmed in 1970. The WPA History of the Negro in Pittsburgh marks the first publication of this rich body of information. This unique historical study of the city’s black population features articles on civil rights, social class, lifestyle, culture, folklore, and institutions from colonial times through the 1930s.


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