The Emergence of Juvenile Justice and the Making of Black Delinquency
This chapter elucidates the community milieu in which the nascent juvenile justice system operated. Racialized notions of childhood, Progressive uplift, and the politics of child welfare primed black children to be marked as delinquents even before they formally stepped foot inside Cook County Juvenile Court. The vast majority of public and private agencies for poor, abused, neglected, or abandoned children excluded black children because of their race, even as they readily accepted white and European immigrant children. This dearth of institutional resources for black children was exacerbated by the Great Migration. Chicago’s black community adapted to these realities by doing their own “child-saving” and inserting themselves into a juvenile justice system that began to play a defining role in shaping the trajectory of many black children’s lives.
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