Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History

First Advisor

Kyle E. Ciani


This thesis analyzes the work and effectiveness of formal and informal resident management groups in public housing in Chicago, IL during 1940 to 1990 as reported by local newspapers. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is infamous for managerial neglect of buildings and, more importantly, its residents. It is for this reason that CHA residents throughout the city regularly came together on their own merit in an attempt to effect change and better their circumstances. This thesis evaluates the process in which Chicago public housing residents politicized themselves in order to create better living situations for themselves and their families in project buildings. Public housing in

Chicago cannot be understood as a policy without evaluating the role that residents have played in policymaking. It has been easy to overlook their accomplishments because much of the strides residents made in bettering their lives were often limited to their own buildings. Residents often came together to assign each other building maintenance tasks that should have been taken care of by the CHA, but usually were not. Eventually, many of these groups became politicized and were able to effect change from within the CHA, all the way up to the federal level. This is evidenced in resident's successful campaign to gain resident management status through various programs after 1987. This process is evaluated in this thesis by drawing on resources such as previously recorded interviews compiled by editors, and most importantly in reports from The Chicago Defender and The Chicago Tribune. Both newspapers provided a wealth of publications which provided insight into the activities of Chicago public housing resident lives by reporting activities in project buildings, and also exposing the shortcomings of the CHA in which residents continuously fought against.


Imported from ProQuest Rufin_ilstu_0092N_10575.pdf


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