Archive ID: 2021-004-2

Racial Terror at Trumbull Park, Chicago

Date Created: 1954

Created By: Howard Mayhew, Pioneer Publishers

Donor: Chris (Christine) J. Walley

Media Type: Booklet/Pamphlet

Language: English


The Trumbull Park riots were key events in the history of civil rights both in Chicago and nationally. Trumbull Park was a public housing development built by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) in South Deering in 1938. The racial integration of the housing project in the early 1950s sparked social unrest among neighborhood whites, most of whom were the children of immigrants intent on upward mobility in the post-war period. Motivated by racial fears as well as concerns for falling property values stoked by realtors, crowds of white residents set off firework “bombs,” threw bricks, broke windows, and threw garbage on the lawns of black residents to try to physically and psychologically intimidate black families into leaving. A massive police presence, at times reaching 1000 officiers, was used to contain the riots in 1953-4. Unrest would erupt periodically in subsequent years. These events helped galvanize the growing civil rights movement in the region, culminating in a march to protest housing segregation in Southeast Chicago led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1966. This pamphlet was written by a radical political activist, Howard Mayhew, who offered an analysis of the riots that linked race and the workings of capitalism.

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Historic Events   Trumbull Park Riots   1950-1979   South Deering   African-American   Booklet/Pamphlet