Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Timothy Black  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- Timothy Black on WorldCat --

E-Mail: --

Illinois Connection

Black lived in Mason City, Illinois. He graduated from Mason City High School (now Illinois Central High) in 1976.

Biographical and Professional Information

Black is an Associate Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Associate of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His scholarly work examines the intersections between larger social structures and personal lives. He attempts to identify the processes and mechanisms through which social and economic marginalization is (re)produced and to show how life in marginalized spaces is negotiated. His research focuses on the post-1970s period of neoliberalism and, more recently, the Great Recession and their respective impacts on the working classes and marginalized communities more specifically. He advances a medium of sociological storytelling to illustrate how social structures are lived. Black teaches courses on urban sociology, urban poverty, and qualitative research methods.


When a Heart Turns Rock Solid was named one of the best books of 2009 by the Washington Post, won the prestigious Mirra Komarovsky Book Award from the Eastern Sociological Society in 2010, was awarded the Humanist Book Award in 2010 by the Association for Humanist Sociology, and was named an honorable mention for the Puerto Rican Studies Associationís 2010 book award.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)

Selected Titles At Your Library

When a heart turns rock solid :
ISBN: 0307454878. OCLC Number: 462883128

Vintage Books,. .

Employing a sociological storytelling method, Black, associate professor of sociology at the University of Hartford, recounts the lives of three Puerto Rican brothers living in poor, gang-dominated Springfield, Mass., whom he befriended and followed for 18 years. The book is not so much about the brothers--Julio, Fausto and Sammy--and their friends as it is about the cultural and social forces and the economic and political policies that in the latter decades of the 20th century determined the boys' fates and the fates of thousands of others. Flawed bilingual education programs doomed them to virtual illiteracy, while harsh drug laws warehoused them in a rapidly expanding prison system. While the author provided concrete forms of assistance--especially for the two younger brothers, who battled addiction--the pull of the street as well as the inadequacy of their education led to failed or marginally productive lives, even for the motivated eldest son, Julio.