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History of African Americans in Chicago

The history of African Americans in Chicago dates back to Jean Baptiste Point du Sable’s trading activities in the 1780s. Du Sable is the city"s founder.[1] Fugitive slaves and freedmen established the city’s first black community in the 1840s. By the late 19th century, the first black person had been elected to office.

The Great Migrations from 1910 to 1960 brought hundreds of thousands of blacks from the South to Chicago, where they became an urban population. They created churches, community organizations, important businesses, music, and literature. African Americans of all classes built a community on the South Side of Chicago for decades before the Civil Rights Movement, as well as on the West Side of Chicago. Residing in segregated communities, almost regardless of income, the Black residents of Chicago aimed to create communities where they could survive, sustain themselves, and have the ability to determine for themselves their own course in Chicago history.

Especially after the Civil War, Illinois had some of the most progressive anti-discrimination legislation in the nation.[2] School segregation was first outlawed in 1874, and segregation in public accommodations was first outlawed in 1885.[2]

In the 1920s, however, homeowner"s discriminatory covenant practices were killed in state courts.[2] The increasingly large black population in Chicago (40,000 in 1910, and 278,000 in 1940[1]) faced some of the same discrimination in Chicago as they had in the South. It was hard for many blacks to find jobs and find decent places to live because of the competition for housing among different groups of people at a time when the city was expanding in population so dramatically. At the same time that blacks moved from the South in the Great Migration, Chicago was still receiving thousands of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. The groups competed with each other for working-class wages.

Though other techniques to maintain housing segregation had been used, by 1927 the political leaders of Chicago began

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