Architecture and Race

Robert Taylor Homes, aerial 1963

Bird's-eye view of the Robert Taylor Homes, located at 4800 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, January 3, 1963. Hedrich-Blessing, photographer.

Given the Chicago Black community’s keen need for housing in its segregated areas (as in Bronzeville), it was subject to excessive renting and purchase costs as compared with those of other communities. Legally-enforceable restrictive covenants effectively closed most white neighborhoods to Black home ownership, keeping most African-Americans confined to Bronzeville and adjacent parts of the “Black Belt.”

Even after the U.S. Supreme Court declared restrictive covenants illegal in 1948, Chicago’s Mayor Richard J. Daley (1950s, 1960s) used Federal funds to construct high-rise public housing complexes within the boundaries of the old “Black Belt” to dis-incentivize poorer Black people from searching for rentals and real estate in white neighborhoods.

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Image URL: Search – Chicago History Museum Images

Citation: HB-26129-A, Chicago History Museum, Hedrich-Blessing Collection


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