Historically, North Lawndale was a home for Jewish refugees following the Great Fire of 1871 and continued to grow as factories moved into the area. In the early 1950s, the population changed drastically with a new influx of African American residents, many displaced from the urban renewal projects that took place in other neighborhoods in Chicago.
No new housing was built during the time of increased population, employment was scarce, and the physical deterioration of the community was severe. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. chose North Lawndale as the base for his civil rights movement in Chicago.
Unfortunately, the riots that followed King’s assassination frightened factory owners and working residents to flee the area, including the former Sears headquarters. By the year 2000, Lawndale’s population dropped dramatically from a peak of 125,000 to about 47,200; many residents left due to increased poverty, crime, and unemployment. However, glimmers of change exist today as many are working towards the betterment of North Lawndale.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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