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After RedliningThe Urban Reinvestment Movement in the Era of Financial Deregulation$
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Rebecca K. Marchiel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226723648

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226723785.001.0001

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Beyond the Backlash

Beyond the Backlash

Organizing against Real Estate Abuse in a “Transitional” Urban Neighborhood

Chapter:
(p.17) Chapter One Beyond the Backlash
Source:
After Redlining
Author(s):

Rebecca K. Marchiel

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226723785.003.0002

This chapter traces the local origins of the reinvestment movement on Chicago’s west side during the second half of the 1960s. At a moment when historians have shown civil rights advocates calling for “open housing” to end residential segregation, reinvestment activists had a different goal. Rather than demand equal access to housing, reinvestment activists fought for community control over local housing markets. Responding to real estate speculators, or “panic peddlers” who reaped huge profits in white-to black home sales, activists worked to “stabilize” neighborhood housing markets and take the panic out of racial change. This interracial coalition of Chicagoans, called the Organization for a Better Austin, combatted panic peddlers through direct action and legislative advocacy, and created new resident-led real estate services to take their place. White and black activists chose to target the agents driving real estate speculation, rather than neighbors whose skin color differed from their own, because of their training in the Saul Alinsky method of community organizing. Alinskyism gave urbanites in transitional neighborhoods a framework for analyzing local problems in terms of power relations rather than racial divisions.

Keywords:   Organization for a Better Austin, Saul Alinsky, panic peddlers, real estate speculation, transitional neighborhoods

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