Archive ID: FIC-0000-053

Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights demonstrators on Ewing Avenue

Date Created: 1966-08-22

Created By: The Daily Calumet, David Mugfor

Donor: Southeast Chicago Historical Society

Media Type: Newspaper Article

Language: English


In 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights protestors marched through the East Side neighborhood to protest housing segregation in the old steel mill communities. They were met by large crowds of white residents and onlookers who opposed the march. Although a large number of blacks worked in the steel mills, most African-Americans in the region’s early years lived outside of Southeast Chicago due to housing discrimination (with some exceptions such as the millgate area of South Chicago near US Steel – South Works). The Trumbull Park riots during the 1950s in the South Deering neighborhood were an extreme and violent expression of this discrimination. The civil rights marches that took place during the 1960s in the Southeast and Southwest Sides of Chicago challenged this housing segregation. In contrast to cities like New York where populations tended to move more freely, Chicago has been known for racial segregation between various parts of the city (particularly evident in the South Side’s “Black Belt”). Despite a shift during the Great Depression of the 1930s toward more inter-racial union organizing and cooperation, racial conflict again intensified after World War II. Many white working-class residents, often from immigrant backgrounds, feared that housing desegregation would turn post-war upwardly-mobile white working-class neighborhoods into “ghettoes” and responded with violence. Middle- and upper-class white families left the city for the suburbs. Martin Luther King, Jr. described the crowds he saw in Chicago in 1966 as as full of hate as any he had seen in Mississippi or Alabama.

Rights Policy:

Materials posted on this site have been donated to the Southeast Chicago Historical Society and Museum for public use. If there are any questions or concerns about materials posted, please contact us. Some of the materials on this site are protected under Creative Commons licensing. For information on use and reproduction, please see the following Rights Policy.


Contact us with any inquiries.


Historic Events   Other   1950-1979   East Side   African-American   European Descent   Newspaper Article