Black Placemaking: Celebration, Play, and Poetry

Marcus Anthony Hunter, Mary Pattillo*, Zandria F. Robinson, Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Using Chicago as our case, this article puts forth a notion of black placemaking that privileges the creative, celebratory, playful, pleasurable, and poetic experiences of being black and being around other black people in the city. Black placemaking refers to the ways that urban black Americans create sites of endurance, belonging, and resistance through social interaction. Our framework offers a corrective to existing accounts that depict urban blacks as bounded, plagued by violence, victims and perpetrators, unproductive, and isolated from one another and the city writ large. While ignoring neither the external assaults on black spaces nor the internal dangers that can make everyday life difficult, we highlight how black people make places in spite of those realities. Our four cases – the black digital commons, black public housing reunions, black lesbian and gay nightlife, and black Little League baseball – elucidate the matter of black lives across genders, sexualities, ages, classes, and politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-56
Number of pages26
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • African Americans
  • race
  • urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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