The Woodlawn Organization records
Chicago History Museum
Research Center1601 North Clark StreetChicago, IL 60614-6038
- The Woodlawn Organization, Woodlawn Citizen's Committee on Urban Renewal (Chicago, Ill.), Saul David Alinsky, Arthur M. Brazier, Blackstone Rangers, Chicago Model Cities Program, First Presbyterian Church (Chicago, Ill.), Greater Woodlawn Pastors' Alliance (Chicago, Ill.), Industrial Areas Foundation, Model Cities-Chicago Committee on Urban Opportunity, United States. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, University of Chicago
- Bib number
- The Woodlawn Organization records
- 5.25 linear feet (13 boxes)
- Call number
- MSS Lot W
This collection is open for research use.
Terms governing use
All rights owned by the donor, including copyright, were deeded to Chicago Historical Society. Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.
Gift of John H. Fish (accession #: 2010.0014).
Please cite this collection as
The Woodlawn Organization records (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.
Correspondence, minutes, financial records, reports, research materials, clippings, brochures, and other records of The Woodlawn Organization (TWO), a coalition of neighborhood and religious groups formed to improve the quality of life in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago (Ill.). Topics include a proposal by the Schools Committee to start an experimental school district in East Woodlawn, funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Chicago Model Cities Program, and job training programs for members of the Blackstone Rangers youth gang. Also present are materials related to allies of the TWO, including Saul Alinsky, the First Presbyterian Church, the Woodlawn Pastor's Association, and the Woodlawn Citizen's Committee on Urban Renewal.
The Woodlawn Organization (TWO), originally known as the Temporary Woodlawn Organization, is a coalition of neighborhood and religious formed to improve the quality of life in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago (Ill.). The organization originated in the late 1950s in response to expansion plans by the University of Chicago; concerned that this and other urban renewal projects would result in the displacement of its low-income and predominantly African American population, Woodlawn clergy sought the aid of community organizer Saul Alinsky and the Industrial Areas Foundation to work towards racial, housing, economic, and education reform. The organization was formalized in 1961. It engaged in funding efforts, demonstrations, and public campaigns, and played a key role in maintaining peace in the city in 1967 when riots occurred across the nation. Methodologies employed by TWO sometimes engendered controversies, as in the case of involving gang members in job training programs.
Other Finding Aids
Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.
- Woodlawn Organization--Archives
- Blackstone Rangers (Chicago, Ill.)
- Chicago Model Cities Program
- First Presbyterian Church (Chicago, Ill.)
- Greater Woodlawn Pastors' Alliance (Chicago, Ill.)
- Industrial Areas Foundation
- Model Cities-Chicago Committee on Urban Opportunity
- United States. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
- University of Chicago
- Woodlawn Citizen's Committee on Urban Renewal (Chicago, Ill.)
- African Americans--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
- Citizens' associations--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
- Community development, Urban--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
- Community organization--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
- Education--Experimental methods--Illinois--Chicago
- Gangs--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
- Political activists--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
- Urban renewal--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
- Chicago (Ill.)--Politics and government--20th century
- Chicago (Ill.)--Race relations--20th century
- Chicago (Ill.)--Social conditions--20th century
- Woodlawn (Chicago, Ill.)
- Financial records
- Research (document genres)
Organization and Arrangement of Collection
The collection is arranged in seven series by topic.
Series 1. Administrative and general materials, 1959-1973 (box 1-4)
Series 1 consists of correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes and agendas, constitution and amendments, financial reports, brochures, clippings, annual convention materials, and other administrative records of TWO. Present are materials related to civil rights, community maintenance, education, fundraising, housing, neighborhood rehabilitation, and social welfare. Also included are research materials pertaining to job training programs involving gang members.
Series 2. Greater Woodlawn Pastors' Alliance files, 1959-1968 (box 4-5)
Series 2 contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, membership rosters, meeting minutes and agendas, newsletters, interviews with local religious leaders, clippings, and other materials concerning the Greater Woodlawn Pastors' Alliance. Also present is a study of the relationship between local churches and community organizations.
Series 3. Urban renewal materials, 1963-1971 (box 5-7)
Series 3 contains correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, membership rosters, research materials, newspaper clippings, and other documents concerning urban renewal. Much material pertains to TWO's involvement with the Chicago Model Cities Program, including records of the Chicago Committee on Urban Opportunity and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Included are records of the City of Chicago Department of Urban Renewal and the Department of City Planning, as well as the Woodlawn Citizen's Committee on Urban Renewal. Also present are documents related to the University of Chicago South Campus expansion plan, which was opposed by TWO, and to later collaborations between the university and TWO.
Series 4. Blackstone Rangers materials, 1966-1971 (box 7-8)
Series 4 contains correspondence, administrative and research materials, clippings, and other records concerning job training programs for members of the Blackstone Rangers youth gang. Also present are materials pertaining to the relationship between the First Presbyterian Church and the Blackstone Rangers, and to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, chaired by U.S. Senator John L. McClellan, that investigated the government-funded job program operated by the TWO.
Series 5. Schools Committee materials, 1961-1970 (box 8-9)
Series 5 consists of correspondence, agendas, meeting minutes, budget proposals, research materials, brochures, and records documenting the activities of the Schools Committee, especially to a proposal to start an experimental school district in East Woodlawn known as the Woodlawn Experimental Schools Project.
Series 6. Other organizations, 1963-1971 (box 10-12)
Series 6 consists of correspondence, reports, research materials, clippings, and other documents pertaining to organizations and services in the Woodlawn neighborhood, including the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, the Woodlawn Mental Health Center, and the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations. Also includes meeting agendas and minutes, budget summaries, grant applications, and other administrative records related to the Woodlawn Experimental Schools Project (WESP).
Series 7. Publications, 1962-1969 (box 12-13)
Series 7 contains newsletters, magazines, and other printed materials, chiefly published by churches, Christian organizations, and community groups.
Detailed list of contents of the collection
- Administrative and general materials
- Greater Woodlawn Pastors' Alliance files
- Urban renewal materials
- Blackstone Rangers materials
- Schools Committee materials
- Other organizations