Monday, October 1, 2012

Notecard Entries

1) For too long, the media has ignored the hyper segregation in the city. Chicago is known as the most segregated city in the United States. The term "hyper segregation" was coined to describe the ghettoized separation of blacks on the South Side and whites on the North. The Dan Ryan Expressway was conceived in clout and racism and born into a pattern of racial segregation that's earned it the reputation as world-famous symbol of how Chicago's politicians used to create ghettos. [1]

2) The U.S. Civil Rights Commission declared Chicago the most segregated city in the country in 1959, and it has not changed much since. Residents were steered into the city’s different neighborhoods in the 19th and 20th centuries through corrupt lending and real estate practices, forcing different groups to live in specific parts of the city. The Dan Ryan Expressway serves as a stark boundary separating black communities on the South Side from the rest of the city. [2]

3) The alignment of the "South Route", as it was called then, was moved to State Street in 1947 when the city approved its comprehensive expressway plan. In retrospect, some involved in the planning of the Dan Ryan Expressway acknowledge engineering was not the only consideration in the alignment of the route. In a few cases, politically connected property owners were spared condemnation. [5]

4) The Great Migration, a long-term movement of African Americans from the South to the North, transformed Chicago between 1916 and 1970. Chicago attracted more than 500,000 of the 7 million African Americans who left the South during these decades. Before this migration, African Americans constituted 2% of Chicago's population; by 1970, they were 33%. What had been in the nineteenth century a largely southern and rural African American culture became a culture deeply infused with urban sensibility in the twentieth century. And what had been a marginalized population in Chicago emerged by the mid-twentieth century as a powerful force in the city's political, economic, and cultural life. [7]

5) For during the early years of the twentieth century, Chicago's racial lines hardened. By 1910, 78 percent of black Chicagoans lived in a chain of neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago. This “Black Belt” was an area of aging, dilapidated housing that stretched 30 blocks along State Street and was rarely more than several blocks wide. Moreover, a pattern of education discrimination had reemerged, and blacks were still excluded from the civil service, industrial jobs, and most unions. [12]

6) In 1966, Martin Luther King came to Chicago to protest for housing rights because at the time, Chicago was the most segregated city in America with the African-Americans confined to their ghettos on the South and West side. Mayor Richard Daley wanted to keep the city segregated because the segregation guaranteed the middle-class whites didn't leave for the suburbs. William Dawson, an African-American representative and overlord of the South Side, wanted to keep the city segregated so that he can keep his political base. [17]

7)  Before the migration, the city offered few opportunities to dissatisfied black southerners until World War I. Chicago, like the rest of the North, offered freedom from legally sanctioned racial discrimination, but industrial employers turned away African Americans who approached the factory gates. [7]

8) Mayor Daley had a huge role in the segregating of Chicago. The Robert Taylor homes were all black from the start and built within the city's Black Belt. The way the homes were built left no doubt that the Daley era of public housing would be marked by densely packed high-rise towers that vigorously reinforced the city's racial boundaries. Daley's Dan Ryan Expressway which is a 14-laner that separates Bridgeport from the black South Side. [3]

9) In 1951, a mob burned down an entire building just to evict its single black resident. When blacks tried to move beyond Bronzeville, whites used violence to keep them in. This is how the political leaders and the white residents tried to segregate Chicago before the building of the Dan Ryan Expressway. Realtors made "restrictive covenants," vowing privately not to sell houses in white neighborhoods to black families. Since they couldn't move outside of their own neighborhoods, blacks became closed in by white neighborhoods. Bronzeville, for example, quickly grew overcrowded. One family apartments were split into three and everyone in the building used one toilet. The whites gave the blacks the poor living conditions to make the two different ethnic neighborhoods easily distinguishable. [8]

10) In 1937, Carl Hansberry and his family moved into brick three-flat in Woodlawn, an all white neighborhood. They were black. Bricks and bottles were thrown at their home after the family's arrival, and the children were even spat on. The Hansberry family stayed and with their staying came more African-Americans. [18]

11) The separation in Chicago has continued today mainly because of the strong cultural communities that have developed in the city’s different neighborhoods. People born and raised in a specific neighborhood often want to stay there to raise their families and they have lived in specific neighborhoods so long that they don't want to leave because of the emotional connections they have to the area. [2]

12) Thousands of black Southerners poured into Chicago, trying to escape segregation and seeking economic freedom and opportunity. This radically transformed Chicago, both politically and culturally, from an Irish-run city of recent European immigrants. Unfortunately, the sudden change gave rise to many of the disparities that still plague the city, but it also promoted an environment in which many black men and women could rise from poverty to prominence. [6]

13) In 1966, Martin Luther King led marches throughout the all-white neighborhoods of Gage Park and Marquette Park in Chicago in order to eliminate the segregation and get housing rights. Daley went to court for an injunction limiting the size and the hours of the marches. Daley met with King and promised to lobby for more open-housing legislation and build scattered-site housing projects. King left town. Shortly after, Mayor Daley declared that summit had produced nothing but an unenforceable “gentlemen’s agreement.” He outsmarted Dr. Martin Luther King and got what he wanted, to keep the city segregated. [17]

14) When Mayor Daley was in control, he noticed that Chicago's future was the Loop and so he decided to have urban redevelopment demolish low-income minority housing to expand the Loop and create more middle class neighborhoods. Mayor Daley's solution was to further concentrate the Black population, not to promote integration. [13]

15) The blacks migrated north to escape the unjust ways of the south but Chicago wasn't much different.Segregation was in the north too, it was called the black ghetto, a place where jobs were scarce and poverty rampant. During World War l, factories were opening by the dozens, and thousands of rural blacks came north hoping for jobs. So many blacks migrated to Chicago during World War l that they called the South Side "Bronzeville." [8]

16) A Sox fan used the word 'shady' to describe the predominantly black neighborhood in which he didn't want to park his car because the neighborhood is 'shady.' The article then continues to talk about Mayor Daley and the Dan Ryan Expressway. The path of the Dan Ryan expressway runs south to north, creating a rectangular 10 mile long quarantine around "black Chicago." Mayor Daley succeeded in his job to stop people from crossing the large 14-lane Dan Ryan E-Way. [20]

17) Daley's redevelopment also began separating the growing African American population from the white ethnic neighborhoods. The University of  Illinois-Chicago was located to protect the Loop's western side from the eastern expansion of the west side ghetto, just as the Robert Taylor Homes and Dan Ryan Expressway attempted to stop the western expansion of the south side Black Belt. [13]

18) The term "Black Belt" was used to identify the predominately black community on Chicago's South Side. The Black Belt was originally really small since black's had very small living areas. It used to be a narrow corridor extending from 22nd to 31st Streets along State Street. [11]

19)  Milt Hinton departed Mississippi in 1918 heading north for Chicago. His Uncle Bob had made the journey eight years earlier, quickly finding a job as a porter in a hotel. His Uncle Bob would send money back to Mississippi and one by one, Bob's brothers and sisters would join him, each sending part of their earnings to those in the South to help with their basic living expenses. What was left over was put aside for a northbound ticket for the next migrant. [16]

20) James J. Gentry, publisher of the Chicago Bee, suggested that they use his coined word 'Bronzeville' to identify their neighborhood, since it more accurately described the skin tone of its inhabitants. Second and Third Wards on the South Side before were referred to as the “Black Belt”, “Black Ghetto” and occasionally “Darkie Town" by newspapers and Caucasian Chicagoans. Blacks hated those terms and so when James J. Gentry thought of "Bronzeville", it was immediately accepted because it was better and less racist than other names previously used. [21]

21) During the Migration, blacks tried to open up opportunities for themselves which the whites did not like. Steady southern migration raised Chicago's black population to 40,000 by 1910. Recognizing the power that could be derived from this growing community, black leaders began to develop independent black institutions for racial uplift. [12]

22) The tried selecting tenants based on their race as a way to separate before and after Dan Ryan to ensure that no blacks would move into white neighborhoods. In their efforts to clear slums, house the impoverished, and placate real estate interests, the CHA established a rigid set of requirements for tenants, which significantly limited the diversity of residents. Housing for African-Americans prior to federally-funded projects was largely segregated to the “Black Belt,” and was often of the poorest quality. [19]

23) The Chicago Defender played a major role in the Great Migration. The Defender spoke of the hazards of remaining in the overtly segregated south and lauded life in the North. Job listings and train schedules were posted to facilitate the relocation. The Defender also used editorials, cartoons, and articles with blazing headlines to attract attention to the movement, and even went so far as to declare May 15, 1917 the date of the "Great Northern Drive." [22]

24) The expressways had to be threaded through labyrinths of factories and bungalows and those in the way were sacrificed. The Dan Ryan not only dramatically reduced the population in its route, but by paralleling a line of public housing, it reinforced segregated neighborhoods on the South Side. [4]

25) In 1868 they repealed most of the laws that discriminated against blacks.Things were starting to look up.  But by 1877 Democratic parties regained their power of the south and ended reconstruction.  This was devastating to the blacks.  After all the strides they made were reversed.  From holding political offices, the right to vote, and participating as equal members of society was changed. The south gradually reinstated the racially discriminatory laws.  The two main goals they wanted these laws to achieve: disenfranchisement and segregation.  To take away the power that the blacks had gained, the Democratic Party began to stop Blacks from voting. They didn't want blacks to be equal. [9]

26) When World War I halted immigration from Europe while stimulating orders for Chicago's manufactured goods, employers needed a new source of labor for jobs assumed to be “men's work.” Factories opened the doors to black workers, providing opportunities to black southerners eager to stake their claims to full citizenship through their role in the industrial economy. Black women had much less opportunities. [7]

27) Once the Great Migration began, neighborhoods began to develop for the blacks. With at least 50,000 black southerners moving to Chicago between 1916 and 1920, the institutional foundation established before the war provided a base for community development. They added multiple types of churches, really making an impact on Chicago. [12]

28) The Dan Ryan Expressway has 14 Lanes so it is a very large obstacle. The original plan was a three-level roadway, with State Street on the lower level, three southbound expressway lanes on the middle level, and three northbound expressway lanes on the upper level. However, the city's decision to place several large public housing projects along State Street in the South Side complicated development plans for the expressway. The public housing was put on the South Side which is where the blacks lived. They couldnt live anywhere else and so their only option was to live on the South Side. The whites, in turn, moved to the North Side of Chicago. [5]

29) The Chicago Defender highly influenced blacks to come to Chicago and it was a very successful mission. The famous newspaper often listed names of churches and other organizations to whom they could write for help. They also listed jobs that would be available to potential black citizens. The Bethlehem Baptist Association in Chicago assumed the task of helping black migrants find housing and employment. They also helped migrants to adjust to their new environment. [14]

30) Various topics: The Chicago Defender, the nation's leading black newspaper, was widely read throughout the South, and it painted an especially rosy picture of the high-paying jobs and good life that awaited black migrants in Chicago's factories and slaughterhouses. As the city's black population soared, blacks were increasingly concentrated in a distinct ghetto — the South Side's Black Belt. Many of the southern migrants pouring into the Illinois Central Railroad Station clutched the addresses of friends and family who lived in the Black Belt, and those who arrived with no plans were generally steered in that direction. By 1920, the Black Belt was home to about 85 percent of the city's blacks. A mob of four hundred Irish dockworkers went on a bloody rampage against a dozen blacks they regarded as taking jobs from unemployed Irishmen. [23]

31) In June of 1916, a young African-American girl from Alexandria, Louisiana, wrote a letter to the Chicago Defender newspaper asking for help. She wrote: "I have a mother and father my father do all he can for me but it is so hard. A child with any respect about her self or his self [sic] wouldn’t like to see there mother and father work so hard and earn nothing I feel my duty to help" Life in the South was becoming intolerable and she couldn't take it anymore. She wrote to the Chicago Defender because she knew they wrote about better opportunities in Chicago. [15]

32) Most of the urban routes were built next to railroad embankments, but others were criticized for dividing and blighting neighborhoods. The approved route was indeed shifted in 1956, from next to the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad (400 West) to run next to the Rock Island Line at State Street. [10]

33) Daley implored the county and state to get moving on construction as soon as possible. With the rapidly increasing number of African American migrants, the Expressway had to be built asap. They expressway was moved from it's original location to run straight through the South and North Sides. [5]

34) Mayor Daley was a strong advocate for racial segregation. The work of patrolling the South Side's racial borders was often taken care of by gangs like Daley's Hamburg Athletic Club. Because of these gangs' propensity for violence, blacks who walked through neighborhoods like Bridgeport did so at their own peril. Langston Hughes walked across Wentworth Ave. when he was younger, trying to sight see in Chicago. He came back bruised and swollen. [23]

35) African-Americans living in the South reacted to these negative conditions, and hopeful prospects, by leaving for destinations such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Harlem, and St. Louis – increasing the black populations in these cities drastically. Many spoke of this mass movement in biblical terms, equating it with the Israelites leaving Egypt, headed for "The Promised Land." Arriving primarily by train, southern African-Americans poured into urban centers of the North and West. African Americans from Mississippi and Georgia favored Chicago as the place to migrate. [15]

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