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Oakwood Shores Update

by Jacqueline Thompson 

Construction at Oakwood Shores. Photo by Jacqueline Thompson.

The Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation is showing up in a BIG way on the grounds that used to be the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing development. There is even a new name assigned to the area, Oakwood Shores, yet to some people, the area will always have a tag – that’s where the Ida B. Wells Homes used to be. But never mind that, the Plan has erased the old worn buildings with more thoughtfully built accommodations. For instance, the fabulous new senior citizen building at 3750 S. Cottage Grove Avenue which opened in the fall of 2011, complete with solar panels and an interior solarium for in-door/out-door visiting with easy chair seating, is a work of art in terms of its interior design.

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CAC Releases Vision for the Future

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

September 12, 2012 -Elected leaders of Chicago’s public housing families today issued the 2012 Strategies and Recommendations Report, a comprehensive vision for the future that would see the city provide quality housing to many more low-income families who need it in these tough economic times.

Twelve years after the Plan for Transformation for the Chicago Housing Authority was launched by Mayor Richard M. Daley, much work remains to be done. All of the city’s public housing high-rises for families have been demolished and a small number of mixed-finance communities have been built, but large tracts of land across the South and West sides remain vacant, awaiting a new vision that will deal with the realities of the current housing market. CHA remains the landlord, meanwhile, for more than 130,000 people in low-rise family developments, senior citizen high-rises and private apartments rented through the Housing Choice Voucher program.

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Black Pioneers Honored

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Descendants of Civil Rights Activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett pose with Sandra Young, a former president of the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing development. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

 

Remembering Ida B. Wells

Several Chicago public housing tenants representatives, city public officials and a few prominent people around town got together to remember what would have been the 150th birthday of civil rights activist Ida B. Wells on July 16 at the community room of 3750 S. Cottage Grove on the site of the mixed-income Oakwood Shores housing complex, two blocks from where organizers plan a monument in her honor. Oakwood Shores replaced the Ida B. Wells public housing development, the last section of which was demolished in August 2011.

The participants, including some of Wells’ relatives, mingled and ate hors d’oeuvres as they listened to Shirley Newsome from the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee give a brief update on the effort to build the memorial.

A world-renowned African American sculptor, Chicagoan Richard Hunt, was chosen to create a sculpture of Wells and he was on hand to speak about his process as well.

Afterward, some of the participants took a short walk to 37th Street and Langley Avenue, the future site of the monument. Wells lived in the Bronzeville neighborhood “where she lived, worked and raised her family from 1895 until 1931,” according to the Wells Art Committee, a subcommittee of the Oakwood Shores Working Group, which is a committee designated by the Chicago Housing Authority to oversee and provide input on planning, developing and maintaining the mixed-income community.

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Ida B. Wells Revisited

by Jacqueline Thompson 

The last two original CHA Ida B. Wells public housing buildings being demolished in August 2011. Photo by Jacqueline Thompson


From 2007 until quite recently in 2011, two residential buildings stood at 3718 S. Vincennes Ave. waiting for a rumored Ida B. Wells museum to be developed inside the walls. But this summer, the buildings were demolished, the rumors dispelled.

The first preparation to demolish began in July 2011 by encasing the interior and windows of the two unoccupied buildings in plastic in order to dismantle the walls, stairwells and the floors, and keep irritating dust from taking over the surrounding area.
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Residents’ Journal Coverage of the Recent Demolition of the Last CHA Ida B. Wells Homes Buildings

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Click on the image to view the seventh episode of this season’s “RJ TV,” on August 22, 2011.

Watch Residents’ Journal’s senior reporter Jacqueline Thompson talking about the recent demolition of the last two Chicago Housing Authority Ida B. Wells public housing buildings.

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Everyday Life

by Felicia Gordon 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

In everyday life, people are making and setting bad examples for the little kids. They should be teaching them to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing. Yesterday there was a march in this community about preventing drugs and violence. I think that is a good thing, but I wonder does that happen in other neighborhoods in everyday life. Nowadays it seems like so many people around here are being killed for little or no reason. Sometimes it seems like just the everyday grind is too much. On top of all of their other worries, the Wells is being torn down and they’re being told they have to move into unfamiliar neighborhoods.

Recently there was a big police raid in the Ida B. Wells extensions and they arrested a lot of the men and boys who live or hang out there. After it was all over, the city installed police cameras behind the building on Browning and on the street at Vincennes. The drug dealers have had to move from over there, and at least the little kids can come back out to play again. Things like drugs and guns are a real problem in everyday life here. What we need around this place is some unity. That would be a real plus if we could start getting together and helping one another out. Maybe then everyday life wouldn’t be so hard.
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Stereotypes

by Alphonso Parker 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

I’m from the Ida B. Wells public housing development where there are plenty of stereotypes. We are more than stereotypical, though. We are from an environment that despite its negativity, we have plenty of pride and knowledge. In general, this is a hardworking community that has much more to offer than what they outside world sees. We all aren’t gangbangers, drug users and criminals. This community is striving to move forward and past all of the obstacles in our path. We’re looking to make a change.
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A Year Later

by Jasmine Holmes 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

The Wells would be gone for good. No more late night parties in the Zone, especially no more dog fights. In less than a year the Wells won’t be the same. There’ll be cocktail parties and backyard barbeques, but you won’t hear any loud music. All we’ll have left of the Wells is t-shirts, bricks, pictures and stories. No more sitting on the Hill or on the block. No more selling nachos and candy out of your house. There will be Jazz on the Boulevard, Oakwood Shores and many more. In a blink of the eye our childhood memories and landmarks will be demolished.
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Growing Up

by Paris L. Haynes 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

My name is Paris L. Haynes. I was born July 19, 1990 at Michael Reese Hospital. My parents are Takila Lawson and Dwayne Haynes. I graduated from Wells Prep grammar school. I have lived in the Wells all of my life. Now, I’m 15 and I’m in the tenth grade. I attend Dunbar Vocational Career Academy. When I was about two or three years old, my father’s mother and father both passed in a hour fire. Now that I’m a little older, it really hit me because I didn’t get a chance to know them. From the time I was a baby up until I was eight or nine years old, my family lived on the rock block (37th Place) in the Wells. We moved from there to Vincennes and then to 38th and Rhodes. Now we live in the Ida B. Wells extensions.
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This Ain’t That

by Tashawna Ollie 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

As everyone knows, “this ain’t that” is a slang term, but it can be used in both good and bad ways. In everyday life kids in the streets use it in the bad way. They walk around hollering, “This ain’t that shawty.” Their definition of “this ain’t that” is used to show that someone is better than someone else. They use it to discriminate against one another. On the other hand, some of the young adults (teenagers) and the adults have many meanings for the phrase. One of the meanings is that it shows the differences between the Ida B. Wells and Oakwood Shores.
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