The end of Integration and the Taming of the CHA

in Blueprint for Disaster

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780226360850
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226360874 | DOI:
The end of Integration and the Taming of the CHA

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Had they been approved by the Chicago City Council in the early 1950s, public housing projects on vacant land would have introduced African Americans into white areas and helped in small ways to break up the ghetto. It does not follow, however, that such projects by themselves would have led to long-run residential integration. Given white antipathy to integration and black housing demand, sustaining mixed-race occupancy meant putting limits on African American admissions, a form of racial planning that conflicted with the civil rights agenda in the postwar period. In its first ten years, the Chicago Housing Authority's (CHA) approach to racial integration evolved considerably, from a cautious stance to a more outspoken liberalism. The CHA opened its relocation projects in white areas in the 1950s, although restrictive quotas imposed by the city council limited black rights. Residential integration, while still a tenuous idea, looked viable in Chicago's projects, but within a decade, it had died a painful death at the CHA, and the rights of African Americans remained unfulfilled.

Keywords: Chicago Housing Authority; public housing; Chicago; racial integration; African Americans; relocation projects; Chicago City Council

Chapter.  9234 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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