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Photo of Blair, Cynthia

Cynthia Blair, PhD

Associate Professor

Director of the African American Cultural Center

History (US, African American, social)


Building & Room:

1215 UH


601 S Morgan St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-9471


Cynthia Blair studies the intersection of race and sexuality in American society, African American urban history, and African American women's history. Her research has focused primarily on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Her first book, I’ve Got to Make My Livin’: Black Women’s Sex Work in Turn-Of-The-Century Chicago, explores African American women’s sex work in Chicago during the decades of some of the city’s most explosive growth, expanding not just our view of prostitution, but also of black women’s labor, the Great Migration, black and white reform movements, and the emergence of modern sexuality, and the criminalization of Black women in Chicago who worked as prostitutes in the early twentieth century. The book won the Lora Romero First Book Prize from the American Studies Association.