Beginning with W.E.B. Du Bois's and Ida B. Wells's , this review revisits and examines sociological research on urban Black Americans from the late nineteenth century to the present. Focusing on the approaches, frameworks, and sociological insights that emerged over this period, we examine this scholarship within two broad frames: the deficit frame and the asset frame. The deficit frame includes scholarship emphasizing both the structures that negatively affect Black urban life (e.g., disappearance of work, residential segregation, poor education, urban poverty) and the cultural “deficits” that either are adaptations to those structural realities or (as some deficit scholars argue) are the cause of urban Black hardships. The asset frame includes scholarship focusing on the agency and cultural contributions of urban Black Americans. Detailing the historical origins and contemporary use of these frames, we demonstrate how the sociology of urban Black America remains a reflection of the possibilities and problems of the broader discipline. The review concludes by outlining new conceptual opportunities offered by what we refer to as chocolate city sociology.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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