Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Leanita McClain  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction Other

Born: 1951 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

McClain was born in Chicago and grew up in the Ida B. Wells housing projects.

Biographical and Professional Information

Leanita McClain was a journalist and commentator, best known for her observations of race and politics in Chicago and the U.S. in the early 1980s. Her writings in the Chicago Tribune and in opinion pieces published in Newsweek gave broad exposure to her thoughts on race and class in the United States. Her work addressed both local topics, such as the election of Harold Washington as mayor in 1983, as well as topics of more national interest, including the challenges facing the growing black middle class. McClain suffered from depression through much of her life, and died by suicide.

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