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Black RevolutionaryWilliam Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle$
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Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037924

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037924.001.0001

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Black Chicago

Black Chicago

Chapter:
(p.79) 6 Black Chicago
Source:
Black Revolutionary
Author(s):

Gerald Horne

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037924.003.0006

This chapter examines Patterson's arrival in Chicago. After operating semiclandestinely in Europe and coordinating the Scottsboro campaign, being deployed to Chicago almost seemed like a demotion for Patterson. Surely, the Second City was no backwater, and given its steel mills teeming with proletarians, it was more eye-catching for a self-respecting Marxist-Leninist than a relatively less-endowed Manhattan. Still, the abjectly horrible conditions faced by the Negro working class—including many abodes bereft of water or even toilets—were suggestive of the fact that there was much work to do. Indeed, Patterson was dumbfounded by what he found in black Chicago: 60 percent of Negroes were unemployed, which was “reflected in the terribly dilapidated houses, the crowded kitchenettes, the gambling and vice.” Thus, he said, “We need scores of housing projects that exceed the Ida B. Wells project in scope and in provision” since “the Negro ghetto is an eyesore to democracy.”

Keywords:   proletarians, Negro working class, black Chicago, unemployed Negroes, housing projects, Negro ghetto

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