What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun Or fester like a sore—

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What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun Or fester like a sore—

  • What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun Or fester like a sore—

  • And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—

  • Like a syrupy sweet?

  • Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

Sociology and Chicago

  • Richard Wright, Introduction to Black Metropolis (Drake and Horace Cayton, 1945)

  • “Chicago is the known city; perhaps more is known about it, how it is run, how it kills, how it loves, steals, helps, gives, cheats and crushes than any other city in the world. Chicago is a new city; it grew to be bigger in one hundred years than did Paris in two thousand.”

  • By 1945, the second largest African American city in the world and probably the most segregated—still true today.

Reasons Blacks Looked North: “The Promised Land”

  • The living conditions of blacks did not significantly improve after the Civil War.

  • Sharecropping led to debt peonage.

  • Lynching

  • Plessy vs. Ferguson Case – 1896

  • Changes in southern agriculture

The Great Migration to Chicago:1890-1960 (especially 1940-1960)

Chicago Population Growth: 1890-1960

Physical Ghetto: The First Black Ghetto, 1890-1945

  • When the Black migrants began to come to Chicago in large numbers during World War I, there wasn’t a huge problem with segregation. As the Black population increased Whites began to close the housing market off to Blacks. These White reactions created a physical ghetto.

  • By the end of World War II, Black population approaching 10%; drastic overcrowding of ghetto, landlords subdividing buildings into kitchenettes. All social classes crammed together.

The Making of the Second Ghetto:1945-1960: Hirsch

    • Conflicts as Black residents tried to move into adjacent neighborhoods: white rioting. Blockbusting and violence.
    • 2. Chicago Housing Authority
    • a.Effort to locate public housing outside the ghetto. State legislature stopped that.
    • b. Birth of high rise strategy
    • c. Isolation of high rises in State Street corridor

State St: Aerial View (Robert Cameron's Above Chicago)

High Rise Public Housing: pro and con

  • Massive overcrowding created a need.

  • Much of existing housing in poor repair

  • Initially a mix by class and even to some extent race

  • Community building efforts by residents

  • See Venkatesh, An American Project

Ida B. Wells

  • “They had inspection, they was very thorough with inspection…They inspected everything…Ida B. Wells was a good place to live.”

  • Doris Simon

  • Ida B. Wells

Robert Taylor

  • “I felt like I had an advantage…They were run really well…a lot of my cousins wanted to live where we were living. There was a large sense of community. In many cases it was like extended family.”

  • Sequane Lawrence

  • Former Resident, Robert Taylor Homes

Disinvestment and the Concentration of Public Housing in Bronzeville, 1960-1990

  • Black middle class moved to the suburbs

  • Deterioration of public housing and of private housing stock; fires and abandonment


  • Decline in Housing Values

  • Loss of housing/rise in vacant lots

  • Depopulation and loss of businesses

  • Decline of school system

Density of Vacant Lots: 2000-2003 Source: Black Metropolis Physical Quality of Life Database

Median Family Income In Bronzeville 1960-1990 Source: U.S. Census Bureau

  • Decline of median family income 1970-1980.

  • The increase beginning in 1980 mostly the result of new residents… people taking a chance on gentrification

Poverty in Bronzeville: 1960-2000 Source: U.S. Census Bureau

  • This graph shows the percentage of residents living below the federal poverty line.

  • Poverty in Bronzeville has increased significantly since 1960.

  • By 1990 it stood at nearly 52%.

  • The percent of people in Illinois living below the poverty line is 13.1%.

Trends in Public Housing in Chicago

  • Gautreaux decision

  • Hope VI in 1995 freed CHA from obligation to rebuild demolished units

  • Demolition of the high rises and replacement by mixed income housing that will accommodate far less poor people (Henry Horner Homes)

  • Section 8 subsidies

    • Landlord reluctance and rent ceilings

What is Reinvestment/Redevelopment?

  • Bronzeville Redevelopment Plan

    • To stimulate economic growth
    • Role of TIFS
    • Gentrification
      • Housing
      • Commercial
      • Historic Preservation

Density of New Construction 2000 Source: Black Metropolis Physical Quality of Life Database

Density of New Construction 2002 Source: Black Metropolis Physical Quality of Life Database

Density of New Construction 2003 Source: Black Metropolis Physical Quality of Life Database

Bronzeville Population Projection: 2000-2010 source: US Census Bureau

Home Value Projection: 2000-2010 Source: US Census Bureau

Bronzeville At the Crossroads

  • Who’s In? Who’s Out? Why?

  • Why does the majority of redevelopment in Bronzeville appear to not directly benefit the current population?

  • Has the Section 8 Voucher Program helped people to relocate? Where? What about Hope VI?

  • After redevelopment, what will be the percentage of housing development residents that return to Bronzeville?

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