Segregation and Housing in Chicago

  • Length: 2285 words (6.5 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Segregation and Housing in Chicago

Chicago was the best place to live and visit for anyone. Many people traveled from far places to visit and live in Chicago. Long after the World War II many things started reshaping America. One of the most significant was the racial change all over America but specifically in Chicago. Many southern blacks started to move into Chicago. Chicago started to become mostly dominated by blacks and other minorities while whites started to move into the suburbs of Chicago. "Beginning in the 1930s, with the city's black population increasing and whites fleeing to the suburbs, the black vote became a precious commodity to the white politicians seeking to maintain control" (Green, 117). Many of the mayors such as Edward J. Kelly, Martin H. Kennelly, and Richard J. Daley won over the blacks and got their votes for them to become mayor. The black population grew by 77 percent by the 1940. The white population dropped from 102,048 to 10,792 during the years of 1940 to 1960. With all of these people moving into Chicago there had to be more housing. There were many houses built to accommodate all the people. Martin H. Kennelly at one time wanted to tear down slums and have public housing built in the black ghetto. Many of the blacks wanted to escape these ghettos so some of them; if they could they would try to move to the white communities. When the blacks would try to move into the white communities they were met with mobs. There were many hurdles that blacks had to overcome not only in Chicago but all over America. The blacks of Chicago had to fight for a place to live and to find a mayor that would help them for who they are, not their color.

Throughout Chicago there were many fights that blacks had to fight. It was not easy for blacks to live in the city because everywhere they went they were faced with whites trying to get them to move out. Led by comedian Dick Gregory, 75 people protested in the Bridgeport neighborhood. As these protestors walked many people of the Bridgeport neighborhood threw eggs and tomatoes, showed Ku Klux Klan signs and shouted, "Two-four-six-eight, we don't want to integrate and Oh, I wish I was an Alabama trooper, that is what I'd really like to be-ee-ee. Cuz if I was and Alabama trooper, I could kill the niggers legally" (Biles, 112).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Segregation and Housing in Chicago." 22 May 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Chicago’s Public Housing Essay example - 1. The big picture: What are the broad, general dimensions of this problem or story, here in Chicago as of 2010. As of 2010, “the ghetto” has been defined as the poor areas with dense African American populations. Nowadays the word ghetto not only describes a place, but is also used as an adjective to describe an area, or type of people in general. Chicago’s ghetto is typically referring to the south side of the city. The Chicago Housing Authority which was founded in 1937 was responsible for the majority of housing available for the city’s African American population, which was quite a controversial topic....   [tags: Public Housing]
:: 4 Works Cited
1104 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Chicago’s Cabrini-Green Housing Project Essay - Chicago’s Cabrini-Green public housing project is notorious in the United States for being the most impoverished and crime-ridden public housing development ever established. Originally established as inexpensive housing in the 1940’s, it soon became a vast complex of unsightly concrete low and high-rise apartment structures. Originally touted as a giant step forward in the development of public housing, it quickly changed from a racially and economically diverse housing complex to a predominantly black, extremely poor ghetto....   [tags: Poverty Ghetto Chicago]
:: 6 Works Cited
1551 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Future for Chicago Public Housing Essay - The Future for Chicago Public Housing In big cities across America, the consensus is public housing doesn't work. And in Chicago, it's coming down. Chicago began using federal housing dollars to blow up or knock down high-rise public housing in 1993. The plan shifted into high gear when the city signed a $1.5 billion deal with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Under the plan for transformation, Chicago will destroy more public housing than any city in the country. There are families being pushed out of their homes, out of the city and the communities that they want to stay in....   [tags: Sociology] 684 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about The Inequalities Of Race In Housing And Education - Stereotypes are like scalp dandruff, unnecessary, ugly, and hard to get rid of, unless you have the right shampoo. That shampoo could symbolize proper education or enlightenment for getting rid of that particular stereotype. Some stereotypes are so absurd we sometimes wonder where the heck did they even originate from. For example, Asians are bad drivers, or white people cannot dance. However there is a type of stereotype that has some little truth to it, but you find it is not the people who we are stereotyping’s fault....   [tags: Kozol Education Poverty Stereotypes] 1349 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Murder Capital: “Chiraq, Drillinois” a City at War - Gang life exists as a lifestyle because of a lack of access to resources. Gangs are classically viewed as a by-product of social disorganization, the weakness of traditional institutions, like the schools, to replace the lost primary networks of the traditional world. Home of the Chicago Bulls and great players, such as, Michael Jordan and Derick Rose, who have won six rings and it is considered to host one of the greatest NBA teams of all times. It is the adopted hometown of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama....   [tags: Gangs, Chicago, Illinois, Social Disorganization]
:: 7 Works Cited
1176 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Chicago's Negro Essays - Chicago's Negro When studying urban living spaces, one question that always comes to mind is how a particular urban space or neighborhood came into existence. I have grown up on the South Side of Chicago for the past 19 years in a community known as Pill Hill. My neighborhood, a middle-class Chicago neighborhood, came to gain its name because of all the doctors and health-care professionals who resided in the neighborhood in the 1960’s. In addition, I have also had the opportunity to live outside of the city in a northern suburb known as Highland Park: Along the lakefront of Chicago are some of the most affluent communities in the United States....   [tags: Free Essays Online]
:: 17 Works Cited
6732 words
(19.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Repression, Isolation, Segregation and the Urban Ghetto Essay - Repression, Isolation, Segregation and the Urban Ghetto African Americans have systematically been denied equal opportunities and this is particularly true within American inner cities. The social, cultural, and economic isolation of these urban ghettos has profound impacts and affects on its dwellers. This isolation and segregation has led to the evolution of profoundly divergent and dichotomous life chances for black and white Americans. The black urban poor are confronted with a lifestyle that promotes oppositional culture to the norms of society and challenged by an everyday exposure to violence, drugs, and crime....   [tags: Blacks African Americans]
:: 8 Works Cited
2853 words
(8.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Spatial Inequalities and Segregation in the Western World Essay - Question 1 1. Concentric Circle Model - The concentric circle model otherwise known as the Burgess model was named after its creator Ernest Burgess in 1925. Burgess was a socialist who developed the model in Chicago University and used Chicago as a case study to develop the model. This was the first model of its kind to explain the distribution of different social groups within cities and urban areas (, 2014). Fig. 1.0 Burgess model showing different zones of social groups. (s-cool, 2014) Figure 1.0 shows the urban land use as concentric rings around the Central Business District (CBD) shown as Zone A....   [tags: Social issues, the burgess model]
:: 11 Works Cited
1265 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay - “I’m going to turn this world upside down “said the young Martin Luther king Jr. (1). Martin Luther king Jr. had a dream and a promise that one day this world would be different and we will be free. That dream grew and grew until he let the world know. He was born in his family home in Atlanta on Tuesday January 15, 1929. Martin was the first son but he had a sister named Christine. His two parents were Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. When he was younger he could slug a baseball and sing hymen....   [tags: segregation policies, economic policies] 782 words
(2.2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about Housing Segregation and Minority Groups in the United States - Housing segregation is as the taken for granted to any feature of urban life in the United States (Squires, Friedman, & Siadat, 2001). It is the application of denying minority groups, especially African Americans, equal access to housing through misinterpretation, which denies people of color finance services and opportunities to afford decent housing. Caucasians usually live in areas that are mostly white communities. However, African Americans are most likely lives in areas that are racially combines with African Americans and Hispanics....   [tags: urban, life, property, housing, area]
:: 2 Works Cited
846 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]

Related Searches

In the 1960s a Chicago Fire Department was sent out rushing to answerer an alarm. While going through the ghetto the rear section of the fire truck fishtailed and hit a light pole. The pole landed and killed a black girl. Rumors started saying that a drunken white fireman killed a black girl; this started the first summertime race riot of 1960. There were many other things and events that blacks faced just because they wanted to live in Chicago.

There were many mayors of Chicago, and many of them had to win over the black community to get a chance to be mayor. During the 1930s "Edward J. Kelly ruled Chicago's city hall and its Democratic party" (Green, 111). In 1933 he took office as Chicago was going through the Depression. Before the Depression most of the blacks voted Republican. Then blacks switched to the Democratic Party because of the New Deal generosity and because of the Chicago local factors. "Kelly set out to capture the black vote and did so by appointing blacks to an increasing number of municipal posts, by selecting them as candidates for elective offices, and by distributing government aid..." (Green, 116). Kelly also honored successful black American for their accomplishments. In 1934 the "Democrats selected a black candidate, Arthur W. Mitchell, to contest Oscar DePriest's congressional seat from Illinois' 1st District" (Green, 116). During Kelly's years as mayor, he helped the growth of three housing projects. With Kelly, the U.S. Housing Authority also helped fund many other housing projects. Kelly was the boss of the Chicago Democratic Party. He not only dominated the local politics and government but also expanded the strength of the organization. When Kelly was being considered for re-election many people went against him because of the open housing controversy. "the mayor's repeated pledge to guarantee the availability of housing citywide to black galvanized the public and helped to explain the findings of Arvey's polls;..." (Biles, 124)

Martin Kennelly was mayor during the late 1940s. Kennelly was also born in Chicago near the Southwest Side. Kennelly turned out to be a mayor who sits around and lets other people come to an agreement and then he would take the credit for it. Kennelly did do some good things for the city like decreasing gambling in Chicago, but he would failed to recognize crime. Kennelly would deny that crime even existed in the city. Once he even said that organized crime and the black community were linked together. "Kennelly was no liberal in race relations and fully approved of residential segregation" (Biles, 87). Kennelly was part of a group of people who wanted to tear down slums and erect public housing in the black neighborhood. The lack of Kennelly's leadership was the greatest significance. When Kennelly took a stand on housing discrimination he opposed the ordinance that would have in fact banned housing discrimination. In 1955 at the Trumbull Park Homes, whites were protesting against black families moving in. The CHA stopped black families from moving in while violence and protesting when on in the neighborhood. Throughout all of this, Kennelly ignored the black protestors and seemed not to care what they had to say. He believed that "mob violence at the project was sanctioned and stimulated by the willful failure of the city administration to end it" (Green, 141). With the things that Kennelly chose to do, he lost the majority of the black votes. In 1955 Richard J. Daley took control of being mayor of Chicago. During Daley being mayor race would be the main topic for him to deal with.

During the years of 1945-1955 Richard J. Daley was mayor of Chicago. It is said that Daley got where he was because everyone pass away and he was just at the right place at the right time. Daley saw that the use of public housing to concentrate the black population was good for many reasons. By segregating it made the liberals happy, maintained segregation and it would control black votes. During the late 1950s the cities elementary schools were predominantly white. Benjamin C. Willis, a superintendent, came to Chicago to restore the school system. To help better the schools Willis thought that it was best to move the black students into empty warehouses instead of having them go into white schools. During all of this Daley did nothing to testify against what Willis was doing. Daley even gave Willis his vote of confidence of what he was doing. Tens of thousands of black students started to boycott classes during the fall of 1963.
Housing for blacks and whites became a major issue during the twentieth-century. Chicago soon became one of the most segregated cities in America. Though as more blacks started to move into Chicago, there were very few integrated neighborhoods. The ghetto that existed expanded and turned into a second ghetto. It was during World War I that almost all of the migration of blacks took place in the city. This huge migration continued until the 1920s when the Depression hit. When the Depression hit people slowly stopped moving into cities, specifically Chicago.

During the beginning of the twentieth-century fifty thousand black migrants came to Chicago to live. In order to keep white neighborhoods, the Chicago Real Estate Board started using deed restrictions and restrictive covenants. This led to African Americans being prohibited to rent or lease homes. Wendy Plotkin soon went to the U.S Supreme Court and told the nation that there should be no restrictions to live in a home. The Supreme Court soon ruled that this was illegal. This did not stop some people from having African Americans move into their neighborhood, people found other means to keep them segregated. "From 1940 to 1960, the area's white population fell from 102,048 to 10,792, whereas the number of black residents soared from 380 to 113,827" (Biles, 33). The landlords of some homes exploited black renters and buyers. The landlords of slum property would divide their apartment buildings into very small and over priced homes. Many of the real estate companies would sell homes 'on contract'; this is where people would pay a very low down payment but then have extremely high monthly payments.
After World War II the government started giving to Chicago. The government was to have a massive public housing construction and start urban development. This program started to replace private dwellings with public housing and start giving the South Side a new look. Though these projects sounded like a good idea, it left many poor blacks without a home, which started creating the West Side ghetto. Most of this building and reconstruction started when Martin Kennelly was mayor. Martin Kennelly completely agreed with segregation. He met with members of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and found out that they started mainly working on building houses in white neighborhoods. "In 1949, however, the state legislature passed a law requiring city council approval of public housing sites in cities with populations of more that five hundred thousand" (Biles: Race and Housing in Chicago, 31).

Chicagoans soon started to find homes in white communities because they didn't want to live in the ghetto anymore. When blacks tried to move into white communities, they were met with mobs, real estate firms and a hostile city government.

The Chicago Housing Authority was organized to provide temporary housing for those people who couldn't afford a 'decent, safe and sanitary dwellings'. Over time, the notion of 'temporary' housing became lost, and generations of low-income families came to depend upon this government safety net as a permanent way of life. From there, life in public housing degenerated into warehouses for the poor, plagued by crime and welfare dependency. By 1955 when Richard J. Daley was mayor, the CHA had become a "captive authority;' and the commitment of Chicago officialdom to racial segregation was complete" (Blies: Race and Housing in Chicago, 36). Martin Luther King came to Chicago and was shocked by the site of the apartments and homes that the city was providing. King told everyone that he was going to lead a rent strike if the landlords would not improve the conditions of these homes. "Liberals, conservatives, government agencies, and private businesses all played a role in creating and reinforcing the color like separating Chicago neighborhoods" (Blies: Race and Housing in Chicago, 37).

The African American population started to stand up for their rights as people and demand to have equal rights to own a home and to get an equal access to jobs. "As a first step, black Chicagoans and their allies sought to estimate the extent and impact of the discriminatory agreements on African American life in Chicago, a task that generated some controversy" (Plotkin, 44). Over 80 percent of Chicago's land was racial restrictive covenants. Many people that supported and opposed convents started to challenge that 80 percent of homes that were white only neighborhoods. It was soon shown that 50 percent of the residential areas 700 homes where restricted in convents. People went to the Illinois legislature with a bill that would ban convents. By 1934 the Illinois State Conference proposed laws prohibiting race restrictive convents. But it wasn't until 1948 that the U.S Supreme Court said that it was unconstitutional for anyone to enforce restrictive convents.

Chicago was a very highly populated area. It wasn't until the mid 1900s that thousands of people started to move into Chicago. In the beginning of the twentieth-century Chicago went though three influential mayors, Edward Kelly, Martin Kennelly, and Richard J. Daley. Each mayor had an impact on Chicago and more importantly at the time of segregation. At the time it was very hard for many and all African Americans to find decent homes in Chicago. Chicago boomed with people and it was hard for some people to find housing. The result of this was black families moved to the white suburbs. When the black families moved there they were met with angry white families, and eventually made the black families go back to the ghetto in Chicago. Though it didn't just stop there, Real Estate companies and other people even mayors tried to keep areas in Chicago segregated. It was wrong and unconstitutional what people did to African Americans just so they wouldn't move into their subdivision. Today all people are free to move and live wherever they want to be. Unfortunately though this is not true for everyone, there still are people out there in the world today that are still racist and still want to live in an only white community. Through history and though these words people can see how hard African Americans had to fight to find a decent place to live.


Biles, R., (2001). Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society: Race and Housing in Chicago. Springfield, IL: The Illinois State Historical Society. Vol.94, No. 1.
Biles, R., (1995). Richard J. Daley: Politics, Race, and the Governing of Chicago. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press.
Green, P.M., & Holli, M.G., (1995). The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
Plotkin, W., (2001). Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society: Race and Housing in Chicago. Springfield, IL: The Illinois State Historical Society. Vol.94, No. 1.

Return to