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Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 (Historical Studies of Urban America)
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Top Customer Reviews
The most difficult part of this book is the extreme detail. Virtually every conflict, from smallest to largest, is covered. You can be overwhelmed by the detail very quickly. Unless you are seriously interested in the details, I suggest that you get a copy of this book from your local library, or inter-librery loan program, and peruse it before purchasing this item. Special note for those who live, or have lived in Chicago & its immediate suburbs: BUY THIS BOOK!
The Cicero housing riot: This was caused when a white individual crossed the line from Chicago to Cicero (along Cicero Ave.) and rented an apartment. When it was discovered that it was a mixed race couple (the other member being black), all hell broke loose & the riot ensued with the intention of ejecting the family from their new apartment. The goal of the populace was to keep the line between Chicago & Cicero a hard demographic line between Black (Chicago) and White (Cicero).
The book details the incremental growth of the ghetto on the West Side of Chicago as it grew from Black population pressure. It also details some of the initial attempts at Slum Clearance. (See also: Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing, for more details.) The problem here is that as the slums were either cleared (Slum Clearance), or re-created (the high rise Housing Projects), the city lost its tax base & many institutions that depended on paying customers began to fail.Read more ›
Hirsch actually takes a much broader view of his subject than public housing. Rather, he exp;ores the various ways public policy was manipulated (generally by commercial interests) to serve their own ends, and how those profit driven manipulations resulted in Chicago being one of America's most segregated cities. Ironically, the dramatic expansion of the Black Ghetto chronicalled by Hirsch occurred at the same time that the country was under seige by the forces of McCarthism...yet in Chicago, the commercial interests (lead by Marshall Field) had no compunction about seizing private property to serve their own ends.
Anyone who believes that neighborhoods are segregated because of private choices must read this book and learn the truth.
Nonetheless, it was able to give a person unfamiliar with Chicago and urban life (I was raised in the desert) an understanding of the forces that shaped the southside and westside ghettos.
The subject strongly resonates with me because of time in the mid 1970s in an island within part of the subject 'black belt', at college in IIT as an architecture student. We were quite aware and wary of the seemingly endless line of the projects both north and south of us but not of what was there before the campus construction of the 1950s-60s and also of what was there at that time, beyond the nabes I knew. I've gotten some answers with this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am giving this 5 stars since 6 were not available. AMAZING book. I grew up in the area and was totally unaware of what took place. Read morePublished 2 months ago by memphissole
I use this book to supplement my teaching on A Raisin in the Sun and Clybourn Park. Excellent history of discriminatory housing.Published 15 months ago by greatdad
Important history for anyone who wants to understand the policies and politics that engendered and sustained the ghetto.Published 22 months ago by Worddancer Redux
this historically correct non-fiction keeps the reader engaged while still remaining quite academic and statistically relevant. Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by Sierra Berquist
It is very tempting to think of what is taking place in Chicago as something isolated in time, and that is not only incorrect, but leads to a wealth of false conclusions. Read morePublished on September 17, 2013 by Edison
Making a Second Ghetto was very informative. Hirsch went through excruciating detail to tell the story of one of America's greatest 20th century tragedies. I highly recommend it.Published on March 4, 2013 by Tristan Jones