Judge Gentzel Upholds Jim Crow Plot; To Appeal

Woodlawn Property Owners Show Colors in Tilt Against Race

Chicago Defender

Saturday, August 5, 1933

Page 1

This article is transcribed by Wendy Plotkin, a Ph.D. Candidate in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Jim Crowism in its most oppobrious form was upheld in superior court Thursday when Judge Robert E. Gentzel gave a decision, the first of its kind in Illinois, which sustained the contention of certain white property owners that they have the right to bar members of the Race from their neighborhoods at will.

The case resulted from action by property owners of the district bounded by Stony Island Ave. and South Pkwy. and 60th and 67th Sts. agreeing not to sell or rent to any but whites. Isaac Kliman [sic][1] (white), owner of the property at 419 E. 60th St., however, rented the third floor apartment to Dr. James L. Hall, a major in the Eighth regiment and an overseas veteran, and his wife.

Immediately neighbors became indignant, and suit was filed in the name of Olive Ida Burke, but was financed by a property owners' association, which is said to have been organized by Fred L. Helman (white), 6217 Drexel Ave.

The Chicago Defender took the lead in the fight against the Jim Crow attitude of property owners and toiled single-handed until recent years when certain of the owners themselves switched their position and rented to members of the Race. The first break came when the management of the Southway hotel opened its doors to Race guests.[2]

To Appeal Case

The case, it was learned, will be appealed to the Illinois supreme court. If this tribunal upholds the decision it will be taken to the United States supreme court. Final decision of the matter is of far-reaching importance.

Since the Kliman [sic] suit was instituted, other landlords have rented apartments to members of the Race. For more than a year Dr. Hall lived on the third floor above white tenants until finally the second and first floors were vacated and Mrs. A. B. Kastor and Arthur E. Madison moved into the first and second floor apartments, respectively, at 417 E. 60th St.

The building at 423 E. 60th St.[Page 2] owned by Sol Ellis, plumbing dealer, was recently rented to Race tenants, and has as its occupants, Dr. M. B. Bibb, Andrew Bason and Truman K. Gibson of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance company. The 20-flat building on the corner of 60th St. and South Pkway is now being rented to members of the Race, and is partly filled.

White tenants were ousted from Ellis' building, it was learned, because they failed to pay their rent. Some of them had had the rent reduced to as low as $25, it was said, but they continued their refusal to pay. The landlord found Race tenants much more desirable.

In his decision Judge Gentzel issued an injunction and ordered the occupants to move. No further steps will be taken, however, until after the Illinois supreme court gives its decision. Dr. Hall, at present, is in camp with the regiment, and Mrs. Kastor was preparing to leave for her summer home in Bangor, Mich.

Mrs. Kastor told reporters that soon after she moved into the building her house was robbed and several thousand dollars worth of furnishings were taken. The police never found a clue, she said significantly.

The same Jim Crow organization has started a program designed to prevent Race children from attending Sexton school, 60th St. and Evans Ave.


[1] The correct spelling is Isaac Kleiman.
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[2] The October 15, 1932 Chicago Defender includes a classified ad under "Hotels" advertising

"Live at Chicago's Finest SOUTHWAY HOTEL Overlooking Washington park; 100 large, light living rooms, with in-a-dor beds, inner spring mattresses; adjoining a tiled wall bath. Telephones are in each room; 24-hour desk and elevator service available, convenient to transportation, beach, golf, and all amusements; moderately priced cafe; rate $6 per week up. 6012 South Pkway. Normal 6700."

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This WWW page was created by Wendy Plotkin (wendy.plotkin@asu.edu) in 1998 and updated on 1 September 2003.