Home Authors Best Books About Chicago’s South Side, As Chosen By Our Readers

Best Books About Chicago’s South Side, As Chosen By Our Readers

South Side Book

There’s no shortage of talent on Chicago’s South Side.

Chicago was home to many great leaders, including Ida B. Wells, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Lorraine Hansberry.

Even former first lady Michelle Obama is from the South Side of Chicago. She attended the prestigious Whitney M. Young Magnet high school, which is my alma mater, before heading to Princeton in 1981.

There are so many more authors I can name from the past and present. Unfortunately, many South Side authors don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

As we prepare for National Novel Writing month in November, Chicago Southsider wants to shine the spotlight on authors who have shared our unique stories and preserved our culture.

If you would like to get featured in Chicago Southsider, please follow the instructions here or keep reading.

For now, I want to introduce you to 3 books about the South Side of Chicago, as chosen by our readers. If you have more books to add to the list, comment below and let us know.

If you haven’t read any of the books, please let us know which book you plan to add to your reading list. I can’t wait to read The South Side by Natalie Moore.

Fall Reading: Best Books About Chicago’s South Side


Beloved Chicago historian Timuel D. Black Jr. was a well-known civil rights activist, educator, and author. He passed away on October 13, 2021 at his Hyde Park home on the South Side of Chicago. He was 102 years old.

Black co-published Bridges of Memory with the DuSable Museum of African American History. This book provides a collection of interviews with African Americans who migrated to Chicago from the South. Bridges of Memory was a recipient of the 2007 The Hyde Park Historical Society Paul Cornell Award.

Black earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1954 and a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University. While at the University of Chicago, he studied sociology and history under the university’s first tenured African American professor Allison Davis.

In 2012, Black received the William Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service from the University of Chicago. He was honored as “one of the most influential civil rights leaders in Chicago history.”

The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation

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Chicago-native Natalie Moore is an accomplished journalist, author, and educator. In 2016, she authored The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation.

Moore won BuzzFeed’s best nonfiction book of 2016 for her contemporary analysis of segregation on the city’s South Side. She also received the 2016 Chicago Review of Books Award for nonfiction.

Moore’s work has been published in publications all over the web, including the Chicago Tribune, Essence, Ebony, the Chicago Reporter, In These Times, the Guardian, and the New York Times.

Moore is a WBEZ reporter who covers segregation and inequality. She has a degree in Newspaper Management from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Journalism from Howard University. She has taught at Medill and Columbia College.

An Autobiography of Black Chicago

Chicago-native Dempsey Travis was a real estate entrepreneur and civil rights activist. He founded Travis Realty Company and Sivart Mortgage Company to increase home ownership opportunities for African-Americans in Chicago. In 1969, Travis received a degree from the School of Mortgage Banking at Northwestern University.

Later in his career, Travis became a prominent author and writer. He is the author of An Autobiography of Black Chicago. Travis tells the story of the African American Chicago community through his personal experiences and fellow Chicagoans.

Going back to the 1800s, this paperback book starts with the story of John Baptiste Point du Sable, the first non–Native American to settle on the mouth of the Chicago River. It also highlights Travis’ success providing equal housing opportunities for Chicago African Americans.

Travis served as president of the Society of Midland Authors and as financial editor for Dollars and Sense magazine. He was also a contributing writer to Ebony and The Black Scholar.

Share Your Story

Now, we want to recognize you!

Are you ready to share your gifts with the world?

We want to feature you for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place from November 1 to November 30.

Chicago Southsider wants to flood the internet with books written by authors from the South Side of Chicago.

There’s something special that happens when others see what’s possible — especially when you see someone from your own community do it.

So, if you’re up for the challenge, send your information to support@ceounlimitedfirm.com.

Here’s what we will need:

  • Professional Head Shot
  • Link to Book on Amazon
  • 2-4 sentences about you and your book. For example, Charlene Rhinehart was born in Chicago’s Englewood community. She graduated from DePaul University debt-free, which became the inspiration for her book Debt-Free Before Graduation. She is also the author of Dividends Are a Queen’s Best Friend and How to Find Happiness Again.
  • Select only one book that you would like us to promote. You can share the other books in your 2-4 sentence bio.

Book Requirements:

  • Available on Amazon. Please send a link to your book. 
  • At least 10 book reviews or ratings. We want to promote high-quality peer reviewed books.
  • A description of your book should be available on Amazon.
  • Your author bio should be available on Amazon.


Submit your information by end of day on August 30, 2023 for a chance to have your book featured in this year’s National Novel Writing Month article.

Email your information to hello@chicagosouthsider.com.

Add Subject: National Novel Writing Month – Chicago Southsider

Become a Community Contributor

If you are interested in featuring local entrepreneurs on Chicago’s South Side, let us know.

Send us your story idea, short bio, and a statement of interest. Let us know why you are interested in being a community contributor and how often you would like to contribute.

All emails should be sent to hello@chicagosouthsider.com.

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