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Chicago 1966: The Chicago Freedom Movement

Not in any newsletter issue of Poverty & Race

Chicago 1966: The Chicago Freedom Movement

An Historical Commemoration - A look back at Martin Luther King's attack on Northern residential segregation.

New in 2014: Bernie Kleina’s Chicago Freedom Movement documentary photos now online at the Smithsonian

In coordination with the Chicago-based conference “Fulfilling the Dream: The Chicago Freedom Movement, Fortieth Anniversary,” the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) marked the 40th anniversary of the Chicago Freedom Movement with a special symposium issue of Poverty & Race and an interactive chronology of a watershed summer in the fair housing movement.

It was in 1966 that Dr. King and other national civil rights organizers confronted the difficulties of organizing against northern segregation and were reminded once again of the crucial role of local leadership and grass roots activism. Some of the same themes of the modern fair housing movement found their first expression here – the recurring dynamic of housing desegregation vs. community development, and the complex interplay between private discrimination and government policy. It was in the midst of the 1966 campaign that the landmark Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority case was filed – a case that would eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court and define the scope of constitutional protection against government-sponsored segregation. The lessons of the 1966 struggle in Chicago – including the eventual settlement brokered with Mayor Daley – still resonate today.
  • PRRAC's special symposium issue of Poverty & Race: "The Chicago Freedom Movement 40 Years Later" includes articles by James Ralph, Lou Finley, Bernard Lafayette, Jr., Dick Simpson, and Salim Muwakkil.

  • PRRAC’s interactive chronology includes links to contemporaneous newspaper accounts of the marches, maps, and photographs of the events.

  • Fulfilling the Dream: The Chicago Freedom Movement, Fortieth Anniversary 1966-2006 is a collaborative effort to commemorate the history of the Chicago Freedom Movement. Coordinated by the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University Chicago, this project will focus on the history of the Movement as well as its impact on current life in Chicago. Cosponsoring organizations include the Chicago Historical Society, Illinois Humanities Council, Du Sable Museum, Chicago Public Library, Newberry Library, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. A national conference took place July 22 through 26, 2006. For more information, contact Professor Kale Williams at or visit the detailed fortieth anniversary website at

  • "Gautreaux at Forty--A Four Decade Retrospective". This conference is a commemoration of the filing of Chicago's landmark public housing desegregation case in 1966. It was held at Northwestern Law School in Chicago, on Friday, March 3, 2006, and it was open to the public. Proceedings from the conference are now available on line at

  • “Dr. King in Chicago,” by Alex Polikoff (remarks at Congregation Solel, January 2012)


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