The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 12, 1976 · Page 72
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 72

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 12, 1976
Page 72
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Page 72 article text (OCR)

I Dimension I SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1976 U M " -rx Editorials Columnists Classified D SECTION EvoluTDOM IF A GlflETTO CMDCAGO (The plight of America's cities is traced by UPI writers Gregory Gordon, a 26-year-old white native of Minnesota, and Albert Swanson, 28, who grew up on Chicago's South Side, in the first of a three-part series taking an in-depth look at the United States' most segregated city.) By GREGORY GORDON and ALBERT SWANSON CHICAGO (UPI) - Rain pounded the windshield of Leo Anderson's station wagon faster than the wipers could whisk it away. Floodwaters surged across wide sections of the big interstate. The open lanes were clogged with slow moving traffic and stalled cars, some of them sitting in water 4 feet deep. Anderson was nervous. Beside him on the front seat his wife strained forward to see beyond the wall of water. Three of their six children were in the back. They were unusually quiet. Later, not far away, the children would scream as Leo Anderson looked past a gun and into the eyes of a killer., ". . . His whole aspect of his being was concentrating on killing me and killing my wife." Anderson would survive. His wife would not. Mrs. Phyllis Anderson, 51, would become a crime statistic, a white woman killed by a black man. There was another entry for an inner city police file that monitors the danger level of hatred and frustration on the South Side of Chicago where more than 1 million blacks are cornered in despair. This is Chicago, the most segregated city in the United States. Mayor Richard J. Daley and his Democratic organization call it "the city that works." It didn't work for the Leo Anderson family. It didn't work for Frankie Turnipseed, a black mother. She, her late husband and their six children were the second family to move into an all-white neighborhood near Marquette Park. Twice fireh nbs crashed through their living room w;u.,ow and once their garage was set aflame, causing a total of $7,000 damage to their home. One fire nearly proved fatal to the children. - The city didn't work either for Algirdas Antanaitis and his wife. The Lithuanian couple moved this June from their home of 15 years, spending $15,000 more for a house they don't like as well just because they were afraid of the neighborhood change. Why has the "city that works" failed so miserably for these families and tens of thousands of others, blacks and whites, who want more than a decent place to live? An investigation shows the real villains are institutions, rather than individuals. The federal government finances the resegregation of entire neighborhoods. Realtors steer whites to one area, blacks to another and profit on both sides of the line. Speculators buy homes in declining neighborhoods for as little as $3,000 and sell them for more than $19,000. Real estate appraisers often use racist guidelines to doom entire blocks. Banks, insurance companies and businesses disinvest in neighborhoods encircled by red lines on secret city maps; Government mortgage programs spawn neighborhoods riddled with abandoned homes. It's called "institutional racism" and it has separated whites and blacks more effectively than any Jim Crow law of the South. It's a silent, unwritten partnership of institutions that is destroying the once stable inner city and creating an American nightmare. J It was a frightening storm that swept Chicago June 13. Tornadoes touched down in several areas, lightning etched the heavy clouds and torrents of rain sent floodwaters gushing from storm sewers to block intersections and viaducts. Leo Anderson finally gave up on the 14-lane Dan Ryan expressway. He maneuvered into a line of cars at an exit and slowly moved off the section of Interstate 94 that knifes through the South Side of Chicago and isolates millions of passersby from America's biggest slum. At the end of the exit ramp Anderson turned into the inner city, a world far different from northern Minnesota, where he spent his boyhood, or Buffalo Grove, the easy suburb northwest of Chicago where he lived with his family and commuted into Chicago to his, job as editor of an industrial magazine. For two hours Anderson zigzagged north with the traffic through several miles of the Gresham and Englewood districts, moving slowly past the rows of foresaken apartment buildings, brick-strewn vacant lots, rundown bungalows and empty brick hulks, burned out or abandoned when they no longer brought profits to the slumlords. With the sky heavy, darkness came early and Anderson headed back for the expressway. "That's when people coming from the other direction started yelling something about windows," Anderson recalled later. "I thought what they were saying was that 'it's so deep it's up to your windows.' It occurred to me afterward that these punks would break my windows. Some black youths were waiting when Anderson approached a flooded viaduct at Harvard Avenue. Two of the youths yelled that it would cost Anderson $10 to go under the viaduct. Turn to CHICAGO, D4 ENGIEWOOD : Nation's BiqqEST Slurvi "But it's not so bad now," said one Chicago patrolman as he waved toward blocks of inner city debris. "You can see, there's lots of vacant lots." The huge stretches of vacant lots and abandoned buildings have helped the crime statistics in Englewood, but they stand as unmistakable symptoms of the cancer that is eating away at the inner city: Distrust, disinterest, disinvestment. able. Englewood is 10-15 minutes from downtown Chicago, served by the 14-lane Dan Ryan Expressway and rapid transit. But much of the land in Englewood is deserted because it won't even bring the price to cover back taxes. Still, a few, bold investors see declining inner city property as a short-term bonanza. They are the speculators. Operating from secret trust accounts in Chicago banks, they specialize in figuring out when things seem worse than they are, when fear outweighs reason. UPI investigated the sale and resale of 25 West Englewood homes that revolved around bank trust accounts and found that the speculators bought at an average price of $7,900 and sold at an average of $18,100. Turn to SLUMS, D6 By GREGORY GORDON and ALBERT SWANSON CHICAGO (UPI) - Englewood is the black heart of Chicago's sprawling South Side, the nation's biggest slum. It's the home of 160,000 persons trapped in poverty and fear. The buildings of Englewood, many of them dating back to the turn of the century, range mainly from rundown to abandoned, butted and boarded up. The business strip of 63rd Street is lined with cheap bars, second-hand clothing shops and storefront churches. The few parks in the area bear the scars of vandals. Debris-strewn vacant lots are numerous. Englewood once was Chicago's most likely setting for a murder, a rape, a mugging or a burglary. The cops who rode the blue and whites in Englewood were working the city's toughest beat. The blight of Englewood is a durable strain. Seemingly impervious to the millions of dollars from government programs, the decay has grown unchecked through the "war on poverty," urban renewal, model cities programs and dozens of local anti-poverty attacks. The real estate of Englewood should be valu

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