Herman Long & Charles Johnson, PEOPLE vs. PROPERTY, On Chicago Covenants

"The thin strip of land space that is Chicago's 'Black Belt,' extending about a mile in width and from 12th Street to 67th Street on the south, is bound in on three sides by covenants. The east wall of race restrictive agreements begins as far north as 36th Street and extends almost continuously to 71st Street. Cottage Grove Avenue [800 East] is the frontier line of this section of Caucasian-pure neighborhoods. In the area between 47th and 67th Streets, the covenants extend almost solidly from Cottage Grove [800 East] to Stony Island Avenue [1600 East], at which point both Lake Michigan and Jackson Park bound the land space that is 'verboten.' It is within this section that the University of Chicago and many of its property holdings are located.

"The western wall of covenants does not begin until Garfield Boulevard [55th Street] is reached, because of the fact that housing north of this point is for the most part slum housing. At this line, however, where better housing towards the west begins and where the pressure of Negro expansion heightens, another solid block of covenants is found. From Garfield Boulevard to 71st Street on the south, and from Wentworth [200 West] to Ashland Avenues [1600 West], covenants again mark off living space more or less permanently made unavailable for use by Negroes." (28-29)

. . .

"Although these findings are much less than the estimate frequently made that 80 per cent of Chicago's land space is covered by race restrictive covenants, they nevertheless disclose a degree of unanimity of effort to bar Negroes from potential housing opportunities." (33)

Source: Herman Long and Charles Johnson, People vs. Property: Race Restrictive Covenants in Housing, (Nashville: Fisk University Press, 1947).

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