29 Historic Places For Black History Month: Cabrini Green

Cabrini Green

February 17th, 2016


why was it historic? 

    >       Historically known as the worst Public Housing Development in the entire Country. Chicago’s Cabrini Green used to own that distinction, notice i said used to, because it no longer exist. They were being systematically demolished by the City of Chicago starting in 1995 and finishing up in 2011. From 1942-2011 Cabrini Green represented the worst example of community. It was supposed to be a place for lower income families of all racial backgrounds to live until they were able to save a buy a house. That was the plan, but it didn’t turn out that way. Located a mere 5-6 blocks away from the Downtown Chicago District, it was an eye sore for the rich and posed a serious threat to society. Violence and Drug abuse went hand & hand, as it does with mostly all bad neighborhoods.

    >       Cabrini-Green  was basically a combination of 2 developments Francis Cabrini & William Green. These “Projects” provided the setting for the classic TV show “Good Times” about an African American family living in the Cabrini Green “Projects”. One of Cabrini Greens’ most famous residents was Eric Monte, The Actor, Writer & Producer known for the screenplay for the movie Cooley High, The Jeffersons sitcom along with What’s Happening. Cabrini-Green was his inspiration. There were many mixed feelings as the wrecking ball began to tear away the buildings. People wanted to see the Cabrini Green “Projects” gone because of what they represented. Failure, dis pare and everything wrong with the lack of City Government support. But they also wanted and needed a place to continue to call home. Gentrification is always a tricky situation, it’s a world that sounds good but isn’t always as good as it’s promised to be. It always seems to forget about the residents, they look ahead and never look back.


>        Chicago has been it the news a lot in the last few years. The murder rate has gotten so bad the city has a new nick name Chiraq, it’s not the Windy City, Chi-Town or the 2nd City anymore. Chiraq is combination of Chicago & Iraq, because Chicago streets are similar and as deadly as the War Zone in Iraq. Some people belive it’s because so many people were displaced by the demolition of the Cabrini Green “Projects”. Gangs that were once centralized in one location now terrorize all over the city and impeding on the turf of gang members who already existed in those areas.

Location: Chicago, Illinois (Demolished, 1995-2011)

Then photo: 


Cabrini Green Circa 1980’s

Now Photo:


Cabrini Green Present Day


>         Today Cabrini Green is mixed use, middle to upper class neighborhood. All that is left from the old days are the Row houses. As someone who grew up in Public Housing i know what it’s like to live in these conditions and the stigma that comes along with it. Time & Time again i tell folks it’s not the “Projects” that’s bad, it’s the people!. Every neighborhood has their bad apples, when those bad apples are allowed to run amok chaos and degradation start and set in. Along with the usual factors of high unemployment, sub par education, Crime, Drug abuse, it’s a recipe for disaster. It would have been a great feat if Cabrini Green were allowed to remain, just remove the bad apples. Sometimes it’s best to tear it down and start over, but they did it without the fabric of the neighborhood, Gentrification at it’s best. This wasn’t written to glamorize the Cabrini Green “Projects” it was written because like many things, places and people in History it played a major part of how things are today, good or bad.


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