Black Power/White Control: The Struggle of the Woodlawn Organization in Chicago

Black Power/White Control: The Struggle of the Woodlawn Organization in Chicago

John Hall Fish
Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 550
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  • Book Info
    Black Power/White Control: The Struggle of the Woodlawn Organization in Chicago
    Book Description:

    The vital issue facing urban America during the 1960's-the downward spiral of poverty, deterioration, and exploitation in poor neighborhoods-was attacked by The Woodlawn Organization (TWO) in Chicago. John Hall Fish, an active participant in TWO, tells the story of one of the most exciting, controversial, and significant experiments in community control.

    Founded in 1961 by a group of clergymen, with tactical advice from Saul Alinsky, TWO grew to become the major force for community development and self-government in the Woodlawn area. The author traces TWO's history as it struggled to achieve significant community control over the problems that threatened the black inner-city community. He concentrates on three controversial programs: the Youth Project (involving the Blackstone Rangers), the Woodlawn Experimental Schools project, and the Model Cities program. Although TWO ultimately failed to overcome the entrenched opposition of city agencies, its very survival, the author argues, is a measure of its success. For as the cumbersome urban bureaucracies prove ever more ineffective, it is the existence of organized and experienced community organizations that will determine the possibility of neighborhood rebirth and renewal.

    Originally published in 1973.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6831-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-2)
    John Hall Fish
    (pp. 3-11)

    By the early 1970s the large American cities were bogged down and nearly bankrupt, overwhelmed, on the one hand, by staggering social and environmental problems, and torn, on the other, by strife signifying an erosion of public authority. In addition, the nation seemed committed to an American-style apartheid with disadvantaged blacks segregated in urban and rural ghettos and upward mobile blacks offered marginal access to the mainstream in exchange for nonconfrontational postures on the racial front. The great issues of the 1960s of abolishing poverty, renewing urban America, ending the downward cycle of the ghetto through new policies of self-determination...

  6. CHAPTER I The Struggle Is Conflict: The Origins of TWO
    (pp. 12-64)

    Woodlawn in the 1950s was an old and deteriorating white neighborhood which had become part of an expanding black ghetto. Built up with luxury hotels for the World’s Colombian Exposition in 1893, the neighborhood was later filled out with walk-up apartments. The post-World War II building boom, the dire housing needs of the black community, and the general real estate policy of racial control led to rapid change in designated older neighborhoods. During the fifties, one-fourth of Chicago’s white population moved to the suburbs.¹ The black population, which tripled between 1940 and 1960, from 278,000 to 838,000, was steered into...

  7. CHAPTER II The Uses of Conflict: TWO as a Spokesman Organization
    (pp. 65-114)

    The early activities of The Woodlawn Organization did more to unite the community than to alter the practices and policies of the city. While the organization could be built initially around symbolic victories, it could be maintained only if it could demonstrate a capacity to influence the decisions and forces that shaped life in Woodlawn.

    Accordingly, the basic strategy of influence characteristic of The Woodlawn Organization throughout most of its history has been its effort to establish and legitimate its role as spokesman for the 120,000 people of the Greater Woodlawn area.¹ This spokesman strategy was apparent at the beginning...

  8. CHAPTER III The Limits of Conflict: TWO, the Blackstone Rangers, and Mayor Daley
    (pp. 115-174)

    By 1967 TWO bore the outward marks of success. It was independent of the Industrial Areas Foundation. It had gained increased local support, city-wide recognition, and a national reputation. It had developed administrative competence in a variety of projects and had access to new financial resources. “Woodlawn is ready to make it,” wroteChicago Sun Timesreporter Ruth Moore in a feature article headlined “new woodlawn: a happy future.”¹ She pointed to the plans for Woodlawn Gardens, the $1,900,000 job-training program (TWO’s third), the closing up of Baby Skid Row, the improved relationship between TWO and the University of Chicago,...

  9. CHAPTER IV The Attempt to Control: TWO and the Public Schools
    (pp. 175-234)

    That the inadequacy of the school system is the major factor in youth alienation might be contested. Few would argue, however, with the contention that the schools in Woodlawn were failing. Research carried out by the staff of the Woodlawn Mental Health Center showed that seven out of ten first-graders in Woodlawn were not adapting to the student role and the school situation.¹ The majority of Woodlawn children were “in-school dropouts” at age eight. Later research revealed that more than half (51 percent) of the students who completed eighth grade did not finish high school; only 20 percent of those...

  10. CHAPTER V The Limits of Control: TWO and Model Cities
    (pp. 235-283)

    The federal government began in the 1960s to provide substantial resources to deal with mounting urban problems. Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory in 1964 seemed to provide him with a mandate to solve domestic problems, even though the national budget was beginning to be drained by the Vietnam war. The Model Cities program emerged as the new federal response to urban decay. At least the designers argued that it was new. Developed primarily under the leadership of MIT professor Robert Wood, then Undersecretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Model Cities concept, like many other programs, grew out of a sense...

  11. CHAPTER VI The Struggle Is Survival: TWO Hangs On
    (pp. 284-331)

    TWO’s overt efforts toward community control were met with concerted resistance. As a pressure group TWO had faced opposition throughout its history. However, only when the organization was strong enough to assume quasi-governmental functions and to pursue a decentralization of public authority, did it elicit decisive opposition. It is one thing to negotiate with centralized agencies for goods and services. It is quite another thing to challenge the sovereignty of the city of Chicago. On issues where that sovereignty was threatened the corporate power of the established city agencies prevailed, not only over TWO but also over the federal government....

    (pp. 332-348)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 349-356)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 357-358)