Trumbull Park Homes
The Trumbull Park located in the South Deering neighborhood on the far-south side of Chicago, Illinois is predominantly known for the series of race riot that erupted in the neighborhood in 1953. Trumbull Park was a white public housing neighborhood as a result of de facto housing policies and conscious efforts of the Chicago Housing Authority since 1937 to maintain this practice. Interestingly, Betty Howard, assumed to be a white lady because of her fair skin, was accidently integrated into the neighborhood in July 30, 1953. Thereby sparking racist violence and hate against the Howard family. Whiles the South Deering leaders demanded the immediate removal of the Howards, progressive movements advocated for further integration of the neighborhood. Reluctantly, the CHA agreed to move 3 more Negro families further sparking outrage and discrimination towards Blacks in the neighborhood. Needless to say, racist tenants antagonized peaceful citizens unwilling to partake in racist violence and discrimination against black families, and many black tenants were falsely accused of inciting violence and possessing fire arms. The eventual vacation of the Howards family as a result of violence, accusation and discrimination was met with jubilation. Some concerned groups accused the Mayor of Chicago, Martin Kennelly of obliviousness to the plight of negro families in Trumbull Park. Racist violence and discrimination persisted in Trumbull Park until 1963.
In his 1971 article, "Building Babylon: A Case of Racial Controls in Public Housing," Hal cites Frank London Brown's 1959 Trumbull Park. This autobiographical novel opens with two-year-old girls playing in a slum housing unit when the rotted balcony gives out. Protagonist Buggy Martin grabs his daughter but is unable to save her friend who falls four stories onto the pavement bellow. The Martins decide that any place is better than this, and that the Chicago Defender is probably exaggerating the situation at Trumbull Park, so they decide to move there. Trumbull Park is absolutely full of police officers who stand around and watch violent white mobs bomb the three Black families’ houses; they force Buggy to sign in and out of his own house and to ride in the patrol wagon to and from his job. Hal remarks that the Martins do not care about living in an integrated neighborhood; they are just trying to find a place to live where their children might survive.
Are you looking for a place to live? The Chicago Housing Authority website assures potential tenants that "today, the scene at Trumbull Park Homes is much more tranquil. The outdoor common area features beautifully landscape grounds, repaved walkways and grilling pits perfect for summer barbecues."