The <i>Gautreaux</i> Case and the Limits of Judicial Activism

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 Gautreaux Case and the Limits of Judicial Activism

Show Summary Details


Even before Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) chairman Charles Swibel earned the enmity of Chicago reformers in the 1970s, African American activists had joined with public interest lawyers to challenge public housing policy, especially with regard to its location. Community groups, led by African Americans, joined with the American Civil Liberties Union and filed suit in 1966 to block the CHA's site selections. On August 9, 1966, Alexander Polikoff, a Chicago corporate attorney, filed two class action suits, one against the CHA and the other against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, on behalf of CHA tenants and those on its waiting lists. The suits charged that the two agencies had violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause by limiting public housing sites to the ghetto. The lead plaintiff was Dorothy Gautreaux, a Dearborn Homes resident and African American neighborhood activist. Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority started an epic legal battle that guided the course of public housing policy in Chicago and, at times, the nation, for the next thirty years.

Keywords: Chicago Housing Authority; public housing; Chicago; tenants; African Americans; Alexander Polikoff; Dorothy Gautreaux; Department of Housing; class action suits; Civil Liberties Union

Chapter.  7687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.