South Side, Chicago - References in Popular Culture

References in Popular Culture

The South Side's gritty reputation often makes its way into popular culture.

  • The opening lines of Jim Croce's song "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" state that the South Side is "the baddest part of town".
  • Richard Wright's novel Native Son (ISBN 978-0-06-083756-3) takes place on the South Side and focuses on the plight of African Americans in the ghetto, including the housing practices that created such slums.
  • Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle (ISBN 978-1-884365-30-0) was a revelation about the Union Stock Yards at the turn of the 20th century.
  • A Raisin in the Sun (ISBN 978-0-451-18388-0) is a story of Lorraine Hansberry's youth growing up in the Woodlawn community area.
  • Barbershop and parts of The Blues Brothers take place on the South Side. David Auburn's play Proof takes place exclusively in the Hyde Park neighborhood; the film adaptation expands the setting.
  • The Spook Who Sat by the Door is a novel and film dealing with the integration of the CIA. The majority of the story takes place on the South Side of Chicago where the sole graduating black cadet is from.
  • The Boondocks, a comic strip and animated series, stars the Freeman family, who have recently moved from the South Side of Chicago to an affluent suburb.
  • James T. Farrell's novels, collectively called the Studs Lonigan Trilogy, are set in an Irish neighborhood on the South Side.
  • Iceberg Slim, the author of Pimp, was raised on the South Side of Chicago, which is the setting of most of his stories. He sold over six million books, which were translated, further disseminating his depiction of life of the South Side.
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