Moving Up Moving Out is ready for download!

The story of the Black Middle class on the Southside of Chicago amidst the industrial revolution is ready for release! This book is an exceptionally well-written account of the struggles, frustrations, and problems with the expansion of Chicago, and the various ways Blacks were determined to overcome the systemic problems that existed at the time.

I am overflowing with pride to release this audiobook, because it features one of the great cities of our nation, once considered a second home, Chicago. That’s right! The Windy City! As I narrate this story, it introduced me to different communities, some familiar others not so much. Nonetheless, I learned a great deal about the people of Chicago and how this great town became one of the most important battlefields of civil rights in the industrialized north.

Just when you thought you knew this city…. Think again!

“Moving Up, Moving Out” by Will Cooley


In Moving Up, Moving Out, Will Cooley discusses the damage racism and discrimination have exacted on black Chicagoans in the twentieth century while accentuating the resilience of upwardly-mobile African Americans.

Cooley examines how class differences created fissures in the black community and produced quandaries for black Chicagoans interested in racial welfare. While black Chicagoans engaged in collective struggles, they also used individualistic means to secure the American Dream.

Black Chicagoans demonstrated their talent and ambitions, but they entered through the narrow gate, and whites denied them equal opportunities in the educational institutions, workplaces, and neighborhoods that produced the middle class. African Americans resisted these restrictions at nearly every turn by moving up into better careers and moving out into higher-quality neighborhoods, but their continued marginalization helped create a deeply dysfunctional city.

Lecture by Will Cooley

African Americans settled in Chicago for decades, inspired by the gains their forerunners were making in the city. Though faith in Chicago as a land of promise wavered, the progress of the black middle class kept the city from completely falling apart.

In this important study, Cooley shows how Chicago, in all of its glory and faults, was held together by black dreams of advancement. 

Moving Up, Moving Out will appeal to urban historians and sociologists, scholars of African American studies, and general readers interested in Chicago and urban history.

Narrated by Andrew L. Barnes