Bitter Fruit: Black Politics and the Chicago Machine, 1931-1991

William J. Grimshaw, Author
William J. Grimshaw, Author University of Chicago Press $29.95 (262p) ISBN 978-0-226-30893-7
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-226-30894-4
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In the conventional view, Chicago's black community has swapped votes for favors with the city's monolithic Democratic political machine. But the actual relationship has been far more complex, Grimshaw asserts, and black Chicagoans, continually treated as separate and unequal, are now ``out in the cold, embittered, divided and lacking leadership.'' In this hard-hitting, incisive study, Grimshaw, associate professor of social sciences at the Illinois Institute of Technology, shows how blacks reaped minimal benefits from their relationship with Mayor Richard J. Daley, who ran the city machine from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. A onetime adviser to former Mayor Harold Washington, Grimshaw views his tenure as one of genuine reform, not simply a black version of old-fashioned patronage. He attributes much of Washington's success, however, to revulsion against what he views as the racist excesses of his predecessor, Jane Byrne. Grimshaw is deeply skeptical of current mayor Richard M. Daley, charging that ``Son of Boss'' has an ill-defined agenda and deep roots in the machine. (Oct.)
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