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Criminalization of Black ChildrenRace, Gender, and Delinquency in Chicago's Juvenile Justice System, 1899-1945$
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Tera Eva Agyepong

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469636443

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469636443.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Race-ing Innocence

Race-ing Innocence

The Emergence of Juvenile Justice and the Making of Black Delinquency

(p.7) Chapter One Race-ing Innocence
Criminalization of Black Children

Tera Eva Agyepong

University of North Carolina Press

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.

Keywords:   Black children, Chicago, juvenile justice system, delinquency, dependency, child welfare, Great Migration, child-savers, child-saving movement, Progressive era

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