Chicagoist: 6 People We Met In Chatham Tell Us How The Historic Neighborhood Is Changing
First got wind of this via Concerned Citizens of Chatham. Most of the people you see here are business owners in Chatham, the first one especially who is owner of Dat Donut. Here's the introduction:
Neat lawns and tidy bungalows line quiet residential streets in Chatham, a South Side neighborhood that, in some areas, still looks the part of a black middle class utopia.The most interesting interview is of Artemus Gay who is a Liberian immigrant who moved to Chatham recently from Roger's Park. He wants to help build a community of African immigrants to Chatham to help keep up its prestige. Gay especially notes that other Africans seem to have an aversion to living on the south side.
Chatham represents the old bastion of black economic mobility in Chicago, where working class folk, political movers and shakers, business people and other professionals have formed the foundation of the tight-knit community since the 1950s. Yet the signs of decline are impossible to ignore, especially on once-thriving business corridors like Cottage Grove and 79th Street that are rife with empty storefronts and the types of businesses you’d expect to see in troubled urban communities: liquor stores, dollar stores, fast food joints, hair salons and payday lenders.
But if Chatham is anything, it is resilient. Despite its ailing local economy and high crime rate, despite the scores of residents and businesses that fled the neighborhood in recent years, the community still has a way of keeping people there—even luring new residents and entrepreneurs who see opportunity where others only see neglect. Though Chatham experiences more crime than some Chicago neighborhoods, it is not one of the city's most-violent communities. Between July 19 and Aug. 18, Chatham saw reports of at least 61 violent crimes, including 2 homicides, and just over 220 property and quality-of-life crimes such as thefts and property damages, according to a Tribune analysis of the city's data portal, making Chatham the 13th-most violent community in Chicago, tied with Chicago Lawn, in the past month.
The first part of this series produced by City Bureau was published in the Chicago Magazine. We see a group holding "church" out in the open at 79th/Cottage Grove. It's a great article I recommend you read and hopefully in the near future it'll be the next post worth discussing.