Chicago, which produced the nation’s first African-American president, is the most segregated major city in the United States.
Blacks comprise more than a third of the Windy City’s 3 million residents, and they are lumped into the South and West sides. “Whites make up nearly 28 percent, largely located to the north and in slivers of the South Side, while Hispanics, about 30 percent of the population, are scattered to the Northwest and Southwest Sides of the city center,” The Chicago Tribune reports.
The patterns of Black-White segregation in Chicago were established in the 19th century. African Americans were forced to live in certain neighborhoods, and those strictures were bound by laws and real estate practices and enforced by often abusive and violent means.
When hundreds of thousands of Blacks left the South and pushed into Chicago during the early 20th century, they maintained earlier patterns of migration and continued settling in the South and West sides.
When real estate agents steered prospective African-American settlers to “Black” segments of the city, and the city decided to build high-rises for Black public-housing residents, it ensured that Chicago would remain starkly divided along racial lines.