But places like Josephine's — located in a sagging building off a busy commercial stretch— may number only a half dozen now, having gradually given way to fast food, healthy food and imports like Cajun cuisine, along with the pressures of a bad economy. Also, more middleclass residents are moving to the suburbs, some retirees are heading "home" to the South and others are pursuing the economic lures of the Sunbelt, reversing the historic wave that brought southern blacks pouring into Chicago for jobs in industry.It was mentioned by candidate Richard Wooten for 6th ward Alderman (in 2011) that Chatham is a "restaurant desert".
The Chatham neighborhood on the South Side shows the change. The rows of once-classy homes in the black middle class neighborhood, including a brick cottage that was home to gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, are now pocked with boarded up windows and vacant properties. Other traditionally black neighborhoods have suffered even more as the population loss and foreclosure crisis have left behind weed filled lots.
What can be done about these trends of population decline and to bring restaurants into our communities?