Battling the Restrictive Covenant, 1927-1948

Black Chicago Aspires for Residential Security. On December 31, 1940, a “Colored Restriction Agreement” went into effect prohibiting “any person found to have 1/8 part or more negro blood, or any person generally considered to be a colored person” from residing in an area bounded by Roosevelt Road on the north, Cermak Road on the south, the alley west of State Street on the west, and the Illinois Central Railroad Tracks on the east. These restrictive covenants were all too common in Chicago and across the country until they were outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous vote in May 1948. This PowerPoint presentation will address the impact of restrictive covenants in four parts - the promise of democracy and aspirations, institutional racism and its limited successes, institutional resistance from the NAACP movement, and the triumphs of democracy by 1948 and 1968. The talk will be given by Dr. Christopher R. Reed, professor emeritus of history at Roosevelt University, and recognized as “the Dean of Black Chicago History” for his numerous books and articles and his work within the Black Chicago History Forum.

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