When you think of a map of the United States, what do you see? Now think of the Seattle that begot Jimi Hendrix. The Dallas that shaped Erykah Badu. The Holly Springs, Mississippi that compelled Ida B. Wells to activism against lynching. The Birmingham where Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his most famous missive. Now how do you see the United States?
Chocolate Cities offers a new cartography of the U.S.—a “Black Map” that more accurately reflects the lived experiences and the future of Black life in America. Drawing on cultural sources such as film, music, fiction, and plays alongside traditional resources like census data, oral histories, ethnographies, and health and wealth data, the book offers a new perspective for analyzing, mapping, and understanding the ebbs and flows of the Black American experience—all in the cities, towns, neighborhoods, and communities that they create and defend. Black maps are consequentially different from our current geographical understanding of race and place in America. And as the U.S. moves toward a majority minority society, Chocolate Cities provides a broad and necessary assessment of how racial and ethnic minorities make and change America’s social, economic, and political landscape.
Marcus Anthony Hunter is Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA. He is the author of Black Citymakers: How the Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America.
Zandria F. Robinson is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rhodes College. She is the author of This Ain't Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-South South.