Robert R. Taylor Homes, Chicago, Illinois – One of the Largest Public Housing Project in the World

1 Posted by - February 26, 2023 - BLACK BUSINESS, Black History, BLACK MEN

Robert R. Taylor Homes in Chicago, Illinois, were officially named after Robert Rochon Taylor, who was one of the versatile Black architect and public leaders and became the first African-American chairman of Chicago Housing Authority in 1942. The construction of Robert R. Taylor Homes began in 1959, and the whole project was completed in 1963. The project covered two miles from 39th and 54th streets long the State Street corridor in the elegant and historical Bronzeville of African-American neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. There were 28 strongly packed high rise buildings with 4,349 units and holding up to 27,000 people. Robert R. Taylor Homes were one of the largest public housing projects in the world, along with many other housing projects built during the 1930s and 1960s. It was part of a major federal urban plan to overcome the slum neighborhoods in the city. Most of the slums in Chicago were the main residential areas of African-American families who arrived in the city in the mid of 20th century.

In 1959, the construction of Robert R. Taylor Homes went through several protests from the Chicago Defender and the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago. But still, the construction of the project started during the first tenure of the Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. This and similar housing projects in Chicago did eliminate the terrible slums in the city but also supported racial segregation as they were constructed in the Black neighborhood. The Robert R. Taylor Homes accidentally or by design reinforced much of the poverty and racial segregation of the Black belt in the city. Ironically, the housing project was named after Robert R. Taylor who was an African-American and died in 1957, may have opposed this decision made the project officials.

The Robert R. Taylor Homes were considered a modern architecture for the poor people, but soon it was evident that the location and design of the project did remove families from the slums but at the same time encouraged crime. A large number of young people, especially the ones who were unemployed was involved in gang violence, drug dealing and all this was happening inside the housing project, symbolizing the failure of urban policy. A community center was also available within the Robert R. Taylor Homes that provided a space for tenants to discuss issues and also an opportunity to work with outside organizations to overcome the criminal activities in the housing project. After so many ups and downs in the Robert R. Taylor Homes, the housing project came to an end and was completely bulldozed by the end of 2005.

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  • Jonathanwest November 22, 2019 - 12:45 pm

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