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Lifting As They Climbed
A Mapped History of Chicago's Black Women Trailblazers

An essential guidebook to Chicago’s South and West Sides, and the social, cultural, and artistic contributions of Black women there, from the mid-nineteenth century to today.

Geographically, historically, and politically, Lifting As They Climbed gives readers an in-depth understanding of the numerous Black women, past and present, who empowered their neighborhoods and communities. Structured as a self-guided walking tour, Lifting As They Climbed showcases seventy-five women—activists, artists, musicians, and more—through sites and landmarks on Chicago’s South and West Sides, telling the stories of their significant impacts on the city.

Including Margaret Burroughs, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mahalia Jackson, and many others, this updated and extended edition is a testament to these women whose stories have gone largely untold. With no “official” landmarks to preserve the history of their social justice efforts, this book is an intervention against their erasure.

These women’s lives reveal the powerful connections between their endeavors and present-day struggles for radical community-building and solidarity. Lifting As They Climbed presents the foundations built by these women in crisp maps and accessible narratives, through which readers will find the inspiration, innovation, and strength necessary to build a better world.

Other books by Mariame Kaba and Essence McDowell