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Residents’ Journal Senior Reporter Discussing a Bronzeville Family History Research Project

by Mary C. Piemonte 


Click on the image to view the fourth episode of this season’s “RJ TV,” on August 9, 2010.

Watch Residents’ Journal‘s Senior Reporter Jacqueline Thompson’s live discussion with Pat Bearden of the Bronzeville Alliance Educational Task Force, about their Family History Research Project.

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The Price of a Political Job

by Lorenzia Shelby 

I did not have a particular interest in politics until a job search in Chicago gave me a firsthand view of the way “the game” was played here. My experience may interest the readers of Residents’ Journal.

My first introduction to politics was long distance and began in 1952. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was campaigning to become the 34th President of the United States, and his commercials and jingles–“I like Ike!”–dominated the airwaves. Eisenhower served two terms as President of the United States. I watched the president and Vice President Richard M. Nixon on television during the Republican convention. It was one long hullabaloo, with drums banging, trumpets blasting and voices bellowing. I wasn’t into politics. I was just observing white people on TV giving themselves a Grand Old Party. Later, from afar, I saw the election of John F. Kennedy and his assassination. My meager interest in politics continued through President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration and through the end of his presidency in 1968.
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Dear Resident

by Patricia Johnson-Gordon 

A Time for Everything

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up and a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Holy Bible, New International Version
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Dear Resident

by Patricia Johnson-Gordon 

Greetings, salutations and peace. Peace be unto you and us all as the threat of war looms on the horizon becoming more apparent with each sunrise and sunset.

The “One World” concept has come full circle from economics, where it started, to warfare, where it may likely end. Historically, there has never been an action by a single government that has the possibility of encompassing every people and culture on earth. But man has never had the capability of destruction that he has today.

This image depicts a mural which was painted on the walls of a building owned by the Tranquility Marksman Association, founded by the late Marion Stamps, a tireless crusader for the rights of Cabrini-Green tenants. The building stood at Clybourn Avenue and Division Street until it was demolished several years ago. Photo by Patricia Johnson-Gordon

Pray for peace as you go about your daily routine, despite the threat of war. In the month of February, part of our daily routine is the celebration of Black History Month.
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Robert Taylor: The Homes/The Man

by Marsha Smallwood 

By the end of summer, three more high rises in the Robert Taylor Homes will be just a thing of the past. 3919 S. Federal Street was number one to make demolition history. Next is the infamous “Hole,” 5326 and 5322 S. State streets and 5323 S. Federal.

Based at the Robert Taylor Boys and Girls Club, 5120 S. Federal, the Local Advisory Council (LAC) is responsible for assisting residents with various activities.

CHA and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials worked with the LAC to create a strategic plan for the redevelopment of the Robert Taylor Homes. The plan is posted above the Xerox machine for public information. Also, there’s a CHA Executive Summary released by Wendell Campbell Associates Inc. that goes into further detail about the redevelopment project.

CHA and HUD’s plan is to demolish all the buildings in Robert Taylor within a 5-year period. The overall plan is to redevelop all the high-rise projects for the new millennium: Cabrini Green, Robert Taylor and Stateway Gardens. The dates are not etched in stone, however. The goal is to have mixed-income communities in all these areas. Read more »

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A Short History of Ida B. Wells

by Annie R. Smith 

The Ida B. Wells development is one of the oldest housing developments in the U.S. In this first installment of a two-part series, we will find out just who was Ida B. Wells. The second part of this series, which will appear in the upcoming issue of Residents’ Journal, will be a history of the public housing development named after Ida B. Wells. Read more »

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Washington Park: The Dying Hope

by Izora Davis 

With redevelopments ongoing in several communities, we thought it would be important to review the history of the four empty Lakefront buildings, which have been waiting for redevelopment for a decade. Using history books and her personal recollections, writer Izora Davis explores the past, present and future of the buildings’ residents.

The history of public housing, as we all have come to know it, has touched each and every one of us in such a way it feels as though we built the buildings ourselves!

I refer to this story as the dying hope because it was a dream for many people to live in subsidized housing. When the buildings were first built, it made the government look as though it really cared about poor people. People felt as if they were a part of a nation that cared. Oh! What a joy. So much happiness thrilled people’s hearts: these were nice houses, not rat infested, and with spacious rooms. But slowly the doom has come. What did we do wrong? Through the years, piece by piece, all that we thought we had was taken away. Even today, when big changes are coming, the hope is dying for residents of Washington Park. Read more »

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A History of Cabrini-Green

by Cecelia A. Clark 

Francis Cabrini Homes was constructed in 1941 and 1942. The first family moved in Aug. 1, 1942. The Cabrini Homes, commonly known today as the row houses, are bounded by Chicago Avenue on the south, Oak Street on the north, Cambridge Avenue on the west and Hudson Avenue to the east.

In 1900, the area where Cabrini-Green is located was crowded with frame and brick tenements and industrial buildings with two or even three buildings on a single lot. The area had a large Italian population and was often called “Little Sicily.” By 1940, the Black population in the area had grown to 20 percent, and by 1950 to 79 percent. There was still a 75 percent white population in the surrounding area. Read more »

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LeClaire Courts

by Andre Robinson 

Once the crown jewel of the nation’s resident-managed public housing developments, LeClaire Courts was recently taken over by CHA. Agency officials accused employees of the resident managers of taking advantage of a new board. While the fall-out of that action continues, writer Andre Robinson recalls the LeClaire Courts of his youth.

The year is 1950. World War 11 is five years out of our system. The Korean War is building, Harry S. Truman is serving his first full term as President of the United States. Martin Kennelly is Mayor of Chicago and Chicago’s Midway Airport is the world’s busiest airport. One and one half miles north on Cicero Avenue from Midway Airport, between 42nd and 44th streets in a heavy-industrial area, is a patch of land that is causing controversy at City Hall between the mayor and aldermen of that district. The reason is the Chicago Housing Authority purchased that land to build low-income housing. Read more »

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