Karl Klockars has a touching piece in today’s Chicagoist with an accompanying striking picture of Cabrini Green suffused in light in which he discusses the final building at the housing project being demolished on Monday and a public art installation that will honor it.
Public housing buildings coming down is the basis for the third season of David Simon’s classic show, The Wire, which to me still sets the standard for what a television series can and should be. I loved all the seasons of The Wire, and the deathly battle between Stringer and Avon in the third one got me deeper in the guts of all of them.
Here’s a fun YouTube clip of the top 100 quotes from the series.
Here in Chicago, public housing has a checkered and much-chronicled past.
At The Chicago Reporter, Brian Rogal set the standard for nearly a decade in top-notch public housing reporting-a bar that friend and former colleague Casey Sanchez met during his briefer stint at the Reporter.
While at the Reporter, Casey and I both met James Fuerst, author of When Public Housing Was Paradise. This oral history shows the positive memories many residents had in the program’s early years. It also discusses the program’s inception as being a gateway to home ownership for returning World War II veterans.
The film featured the late, great Beauty Turner, whose eulogy was the first entry in this blog at the end of 2008. Beauty’s unstinting commitment to her community not only led her to move back into the Taylor Homes, it made her a tireless “writer and fighter” who truly gave voice to the voiceless.
With its North Side location, Cabrini Green always held a distinctive place in the public housing array of options. As Klockars notes, while many had negative associations with public housing, for a lot of the residents it represented home, community and love.