Racial democracy and the Black metropolis : housing policy in postwar Chicago / Preston H. Smith II.Material type: TextPublisher: Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, c2012Description: xix, 433 p. ; 24 cmISBN: 9780816637027 (hc : alk. paper); 0816637024 (hc : alk. paper); 9780816637034 (pb : alk. paper); 0816637032 (pb : alk. paper)Subject(s): African Americans -- Housing -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century | Home ownership -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th centuryDDC classification: 363.5/99607307731109045 LOC classification: HD7288.72.U52 | S65 2012
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Includes bibliographical references and index.
Introduction -- Black civic ideology and political economy in postwar Chicago -- Racial democracy and the case for public housing -- Black factions contesting public housing -- Fighting "negro clearance" : black elites and urban redevelopment policy -- From negro clearance to negro containment : displacement and relocation in a dual housing market -- Black redevelopment and negro conservation -- Racial violence and the crisis of black elite leadership -- From restrictive covenants to occupancy standards : class and racial democracy -- Selling the negro housing market -- Self-help and the black real estate industry -- Conclusion -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- Index.
“The African American community.” “The black position.” In accounts of black politics after the Second World War, these phrases reflect how the African American perspective generally appeared consistent, coherent, and unified. In Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis, Preston H. Smith II examines housing debates in Chicago that go beyond black and white politics, and he shows how class and factional conflicts among African Americans actually helped to reproduce stunning segregation along economic lines.
Class and factional conflicts were normal in the rough-and-tumble world of land use politics. They are, however, often not visible in accounts of the postwar fight against segregation. Smith outlines the ideological framework that black civic leaders in Chicago used to formulate housing policy, both within and outside the black community, to reveal a surprising picture of leaders who singled out racial segregation as the source of African Americans’ inadequate housing rather than attacking class inequalities. What are generally presented as black positions on housing policy in Chicago, Smith makes clear, belonged to the black elite and did not necessarily reflect black working-class participation or interests.
This book details how black civic leaders fought racial discrimination in ways that promoted—or at least did not sacrifice—their class interests in housing and real estate struggles. And, as Smith demonstrates, their accommodation of the real estate practices and government policy of the time has had a lasting effect: it contributed to a legacy of class segregation in the housing market in Chicago and major metropolitan areas across the country that is still felt today.