West Garfield Park was hit hard by the Great Depression and World War II. After the war many residents reevaluated their commitment to West Garfield Park. The construction of the Eisenhower Expressway displaced many residents and others feared rapid racial changes. This led to the formation of the United Property Group in an effort to stop property sales to African Americans.
Their agenda was unsuccessful; middle-class black families moved to the area and formed small organizations and block clubs to protect their new neighborhood. However, these families faced overcrowding in their apartments. By the 1960s, West Garfield Park gained the reputation of a poor, disorganized community. The riot in 1965 and 1968 further damaged the area’s reputation and drove the remaining business people out.
Following the steady decline of the neighborhood, the open-housing laws gave middle class African Americans the opportunity to move out of West Garfield Park. Their absence left the neighborhood vulnerable to illegal drug trafficking and crime. To this day, a few organizations have remained, dedicating themselves for the benefit of the neighborhood.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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