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Cover for The Hottest Water in Chicago

The Hottest Water in Chicago

Gayle Pemberton


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An illuminating cultural journey through black and white America.

Gayle Pemberton shares the accumulated revelations of a lifetime of observation in sixteen provocative autobiographical essays, interweaving her own history and that of her family with reflections on American literature, art, music, and film. Building on the tradition of such writers as W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison, but with a wisdom and sharp wit uniquely her own, Pemberton moves from the integration of a transient hotel in Chicago to a party on that city's Gold Coast; from journeys by train and the memories they provoke to reflections on race aboard ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean; from the Mickey Mouse Club to the ghost of Emmett Till; from Harvard to Hollywood.

Wesleyan University Press, 9780819563378, 280pp.

Publication Date: April 24, 1998

About the Author

GAYLE PEMBERTON was born in Saint Paul Minnesota. She has a B.A in English from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Harvard University. She has taught as Smith College, Columbia University, Middlebury College, Northwestern University, Reed College and Bowdin College. She was associate director of African American studies at Princeton before joining Wesleyan in 1994 as chair of the African American studies program and William R. Kenan Professor of the Humanities in the English Department. She currently is under contract with W.W. Norton for a book entitled And the Colored Girls Go...: Black Women and American Cinema.