Thursday, August 20, 2009

Influx of young whites into Chatham?

CAPCC is looking for some comments:
We, at the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, have notice an influx of young whites into the Chatham enclave over the past three years. Do you think the current white influx into Chatham are nothing more than real estate flippers look for a quick cash turnover, foreseeing Chicago winning the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and the real estate bonanza it would foster? Or is it just another opportunity for them to take advantage of a city housing department program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that was scandalized by the flipping done in University Village (near the University of Illinois' Circle Campus) by white suburbanites who knew about a little-known program for middle-income people to buy into a condominium as a first-time buyer.
You can start a discussion here as well if you'd like. Is there anyone out there who can verify this?

CAPCC mentioned an influx of Mexican American residents to Chatham in another post.


  1. In my case, it's what I have told people for 2 years now: for the price of an outhouse on the North Side, you can get a real house on the South Side.

    I loved in Uptown for 10 years, and my wife grew up there. While we felt relatively safe there, in doing the research, our new neighborhood is several times more safe (i.e. looking at the CAPS website, our crime rate here is far lower than where we lived in Uptown).

    In addition, some of the area schools, such as McDade & Lenart blow away even North side schools (where 96-100% of students meet or exceed grade standards).

    And going around the neighborhood with my now 4 year old daughter, we have generally been welcomed.

    Also, I have since recommended the neighborhood for those looking for a place to live (including relatives of local business owners).

    If you see those guys (and it's pretty easy to spot them), why not just go up & introduce yourself? You can easily find a way to ask them what brought them here.

  2. I'm in the process of moving to South Shore for some of the same reasons that JP articulates. Race just wasn't one of the major factors in making my decision, but rather the location and amenities nearby. I understand the concern, but if people are actually moving in, living there, and being decent neighbors, they ought to have the benefit of the doubt, I think.

  3. I don't think there is any data to support. What I think is being seen is a new generation that is more tolerant on interacial relationships. We have young men and women who are returning from college and the military who have brought back their spouse or partner who are not black.

  4. My personal observations echo Worlee's comments. The non-whites on my block are indeed spouses of blacks.

    My wife, however, has seen more and more non-blacks coming off of the El (south of 55th). So that is certainly something worth asking about...

  5. I was on the L one day and say a group of white get on at 87th wearing their Cubs gear. I think there was a game up in Wrigleyville on that particular day. I wondered where they were coming from. I imagined that they lived in the area if not necessarily Chatham.

    Perhaps I should keep my eyes peeled when I'm on the L.

    BTW, Eric what amenities were you looking for in South Shore?

  6. i am guessing the white people were from a visiting mission team that was helping a south side church.

    More than 2 Cubs fans living on the South Side???? i doubt it...

  7. I do believe that I saw a party of four get on the Red Line one day with Cubs gear.

  8. Wow - the racism displayed here is alarming. Why does whites moving into 'black neighborhoods' has everyone alarmed, and why is this discussion even tolerated? Yet if the same exclusionary discussion took place on the other side, there would be letters and lawsuits.

    I live in a nice neighborhood with a diverse group of successful people of all races and ethnicities; should it matter who they are? If they make the neighborhood better, safer, diverse, who cares? Do we want neighborhoods that fester in violence and decay? I thought the "change you can believe in" was a good thing.

  9. I hate drive by comments. This comment I just accepted appears to be one of those. Well I can respond to the questions this person asked, they chose to remain anonymous unfortunately:

    "I live in a nice neighborhood with a diverse group of successful people of all races and ethnicities; should it matter who they are? If they make the neighborhood better, safer, diverse, who cares? Do we want neighborhoods that fester in violence and decay?"

    I personally think that living in a diverse neighborhood and that's certainly a good thing. I don't think it's bad if Chatham becomes a more integrated community. If they add to the community then there is no problems.

    As for violence and decay well you may have just fallen into stereotypes there. Are you trying to say Chatham is falling into violence and decay? I don't think it is, however, Chatham is seeing a spike in crime. That is definitely a concern. Thankfully Chatham isn't in a state of decay, hopefully it won't be.

  10. My thoughts on the discussion: I don’t like the anonymous comments. I think there are some legitimate concerns, but the anonymity makes it less helpful. Regarding Chatham and decay…I know some residents have spoken to me about how the community doesn’t seem as united as it once was…we have a number foreclosures and empty storefronts. How this compares to 10-20 years ago, I couldn’t say. I am sure there is a legitimately wide range of opinion on this.

    Regarding this post being “racist”: the reality is that Chatham has been literally 98%+ black for the past 40 years. If there are “suddenly” more white people, it’s certainly something to wonder about. If they are just moving in, as in my case, then sure, they’re welcome. But if they are part of a gentrification wave, which could displace longtime residents who may not be as wealthy (such as retirees, or soon to be retirees) – that is a serious concern. This is a battle that’s going on in Uptown on the North Side. It’s rich vs. poor, but working class (such as many in our neighborhood) are being ignored. It would be good to avoid such an issue here, but work to make this neighborhood a thriving one..

    Also, regarding if the “other side” had such a conversation…go to the Uptown blogs, and you will see how they thrive in attacking “The Others” that will be moving into the neighborhood next year (if those people aren’t already connected to Uptown).

  11. Not new to a prgressive historical political african american community but new to chathamAugust 26, 2009 at 11:31 PM

    Can a long-term resident or group of Chatham prepare a history packet of Chatham? I grew up in Chicago (not Chatham) and understand the feelings of long term residents to preserve the history .. . which is a glorious one in the African-American experience. With time however, things change. I saught out Chatham because of the history, but in some way repreent the "change" even as an African-American who also grew up in a progressive middle class community, long-term residents are resisting.

  12. There is actually a publication that Whitney Young Library, at 7901 S. King Drive, has a publication. It's called "Chatham 1856- 1987: A Community of Excellence".

    It is written by Mae Gregory. It's spnsored by the Friends of the Chicago Library.

    Stop by Whitney Young & get a copy (if extras are available).

    Obviously, a whole 22 years are missing, but perhpas some could bring it to the new millenium (suggestion: Mather's trains seniors to scan text & edit it...and do web pages, so we have a new history for the new millenium).

  13. Late to this particular discussion but want to add it is great to be on a blog where the discourse is respectful and responsive. Too many others are filled with hate filled rantings of folks who need to get a life.

    Now to be responsive, Chatham as many other urban communities did, suffered from the urban sprawl that sent businesses and upwardly mobile residents in search of nirvana out to the suburbs. The small businesses dried up when people began to choose malls over relationships and took their dollars to the Evergreens, Woodfields, Orlands, etc., etc. But many more families stayed making this a stable, safe, mixed income community. In fact the community was so stable that this Ward has the 2nd highest number of seniors of all 50 Wards.

    The high cost of commuting back to the City for jobs, has ignited a return to the City (i.e. the South Loop) and indeed families of various races have recognized the fact that the same house in Chatham costs 4 times as much up North, and we have warmly welcomed new homeowners to the community. With those new homeowners we have also welcomed new businesses, who now occupy some of those stores left vacant since the 80's & 90's. Much remains to be done and unfortunately the national economic crisis retards our economic development efforts. But this too shall pass.

    As for the increase in violence, the causes of crime are many and most of those causes stemmed from public policy decisions others made years ago. We will continue as a community to work on solutions to end the violence on a long term basis and strategies to keep us safe in the short term.


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