Traci Parker - "Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement" - Marcia Walker-McWilliams

Monday, October 28, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Traci Parker

"Sheds light on the intricacies and impacts of African Americans' attempts to be afforded the right to work and shop at established stores. Wonderfully detailed."Library Journal

"This is a powerful and largely untold story. Parker masterfully captures the distinct yet intertwined fates of worker and consumer rights."Victoria W. Wolcott, State University of New York at Buffalo

A discussion with Traci Parker, author of Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s. She will be joined in conversation by Marcia Walker-McWilliams. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.


At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement examines the movement to racially integrate white-collar work and consumption in twentieth-century American department stores. Built on the goals, organization, and momentum of earlier struggles for justice, the department store movement channeled the power of store workers and consumers to promote black freedom in the mid-twentieth century. Sponsoring lunch counter sit-ins and protests in the 1950s and 1960s, and challenging discrimination in the courts in the 1970s, this movement ended in the early 1980s with the conclusion of the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. affirmative action cases and the transformation and consolidation of American department stores. In documenting the experiences of African American workers and consumers during this era, Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement highlights the department store as a key site for the inception of a modern black middle class, and demonstrates the ways that both work and consumption were battlegrounds for civil rights.

About the Author: Traci Parker is the author of Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s (University of North Carolina Press, 2019) and an assistant professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently working on her second book, Beyond Loving: Black Love, Sex, and Marriage in the Twentieth Century.  Parker’s research has received support from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago.

About the Co-sponsor: The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (CSRPC) was established by Michael C. Dawson, with a founding conference taking place in June of 1996 entitled, “Race and Voice: Challenges for the 21st Century.” From its inception, CSRPC faculty affiliates, students, and staff have been committed to establishing a new type of research institute devoted to the study of race and ethnicity, one that seeks to expand the study of race beyond the black/white paradigm while exploring social and identity cleavages within racialized communities.

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637