PROPOSAL OF URBAN RENEWAL
The program that the federal government established was the Federal Urban Renewal Act of 1949. Manufactured as a national program for city redevelopment, this program aided in the funding of the rejuvenation of urban residential areas. This new Federal Act consisted of the Housing Acts of 1949 and 1954.45 These federal statutes helped with the promotion of this program. They granted the city government the power to acquire and distribute this land to private developers and to guarantee the provision of replacement housing.
The purpose of the Housing Act of 1949 as stated:
. . .remedy the serious housing shortage, the elimination of substandard
and other inadequate housing through the clearance of slums and blighted areas, and the realization as soon as
feasible the goal of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family, thus contributing
to the development and redevelopment of communities and to the advancement of the growth, wealth and security of
In order to support the community's efforts, the city agreed to supply funding and mandated municipal organizations. The City of Chicago reserved $1,847,755 for the operation of this project. The city also committed to contribute grants-in-aid for public facilities worth about $9 million!53 Chicago also started a special association to deal with the federal mandate of 1937. The city established the Chicago Housing Association, (CHA), in January of 1937. This municipal organization's supposed purpose was "to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to poor families and individuals that live in substandard dwellings and can not get adequate housing in the private housing market and to remove slums and blighted areas."54 CHA played a vital role in the management of the urban renewal projects.
The University of Chicago had a huge investment in the survival of the Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhood. They played a large role in the planning process for this community. With the help of other private investors, University of Chicago donated sixty million dollars to the urban renewal process of this neighborhood.55
The campaign to stop the spread of blight encouraged African-Americans to continue demanding housing. Although the city's south side was in the process of working together to solve these growing problems of decay, many still suffered from the lack of housing in Bronzeville. The conference did not immediately solve the problem. Moreover, the African-Americans of Bronzeville had to continue to expand to Hyde Park-Kenwood. The emergence of the slumlord facilitated this process. Beadle gives an example in her study, The Hyde Park Kenwood Urban renewal Years, of how African-Americans crossed racial lines and entered Hyde Park-Kenwood:
Everyone involved with this process did not agree with the proposed ideas, the "Final Plan", of the PWA and the Hyde Park-Kenwood commission. For example, many Bronzeville residents disfavored this proposal because "one implicit goal of urban renewal was to fix a balance between the races in the community" and to "limit the proportion of Negroes in the population."57 The Chicago Defender opposed their final plan as "segregationist in intent and effect."58 Because of this publication's huge influence, urban renewal became "Negro removal" in the eyes of the African-Americans in Chicago. Therefore, trying to obtain their support for these proposals posed as one of the commission's major stumbling blocks.
The topic of public housing was also a very controversial topic with many of the White residents of Hyde Park-Kenwood. They feared racial, economic, and school integration.59 Many public housing facilities replaced some of the Hyde Park-Kenwood residents, including some of these residents. In Rossi and Dentler's study, they noted some of the controversial discussions that were had about the option of public housing:
Public housing in Chicago is controversial in several ways: as a source
of difficulty for anti-interracialists, as an investment dilemma for mortgage houses uncertain about investing
in areas around public housing sites, and as a program of lower-class rather than middle-class housing. The absence
of public housing in a governmentally financed plan was equally controversial.60