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Racial Democracy and the Black MetropolisHousing Policy in Postwar Chicago$
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Preston H. Smith II

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816637027

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816637027.001.0001

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Black Factions Contesting Public Housing

Black Factions Contesting Public Housing

(p.41) 3 Black Factions Contesting Public Housing
Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis

Preston H. Smith

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter outlines the opposition that black civic elites faced in Chicago from both the black bourgeoisie and white political officials for their support for public housing. The white opponents, including the real estate industry, local politicians, and anxious homeowners, were well known, powerful, and responsible for racializing public housing by largely restricting it to blacks in the ghetto. Black civic leaders stayed within the logic of racial democracy by coaxing or shaming affluent blacks into performing their racial duty by supporting decent housing for working-class blacks. In the end, black civic elites rejected an explicit class critique of black public housing opponents, but they muddied the issue by absolving the black bourgeoisie of political responsibility, weakening their resolve against a more powerful white opponent.

Keywords:   public housing opposition, Chicago, white opponents, ghetto, black civic leaders, racial democracy, black bourgeoisie

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