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HISTORYTEACHER: Chicago in 1955 historyteacher

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Chicago in 1955

One of my favorite things to read every weekend is the Chicago Tribune Magazine. Every now and then they focus on a particular year. This past weekend the year 1955 was the focus of the entire issue.

One particular aspect I would like to point out is the mention of public housing. Here is the entire passage:

Public housing is seen by some as the best way to deal with such problems, intending it as a way station on the American Dream train.

Most of the Chicago Housing Authority buildings are predominantly low-rise complexes, no more than four stories, and as late as 1945, whites constituted 70 percent of CHA's tenants. But that has been changing. By 1950, the majority of CHA residents were black. And future housing projects will rise up and not out, to silence complaints in white neighborhoods. Plans are to build dozens of high-rise buildings at the Robert Taylor Homes on the South Side, Cabrini-Green on the Near North Side and in other areas.

Will this, as boosters claim, alleviate the housing shortage and eradicate the slum buildings that dot the city? Or will this, as some critics believe, further segregate blacks and create vertical ghettos?

I think we all know the answer as to what the outcome of public housing was in Chicago and the rest of the country. I find it interesting that the first Mayor Daley was the one who advocated the huge project of building so many large housing complexes. The second Mayor Daley is the one who is tearing them down.

There are so many facts listed in this weeks issue. One interetsing fact was how little the price of milk has gone up since 1955 coompared to things like a men's suit from Marshall Fields.



At 7:30 PM, Blogger Dorothy said...

Milk - that's interesting. Egss haven't increased horribly either. But it's staggering how much salaries have increased, and the price of a house. Heck, my parents bought a house in 1975 for $44,000. It's now worth nearly $300,000.

Congratulations on getting linked by David at Photon Courier ...

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous ockham said...

Indeed interesting. If you want some background on the real origins of public housing, read John Gunther's "The Lost City" (a semi-fictional novel about Austria in the '30s) and Fred Siegel's "The Future Happened Here" (a history of welfare and public housing in American cities). Essentially, welfare and public housing were always intended to build a 'cadre' for the party of the Left.

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