Interview with Slim Coleman

OK tell me about Cabrini Green and why you demonstrated against it.


About 500, ah, mostly poor Whites, some Blacks and Hispanics, but most- most poor Whites, joined about 500, ah, Black Cabrini Green residents, ah, to demonstrate against, ah, Jane Byrne. Ah, we had something in common. Jane Byrne had moved into Cabrini Green, ah, and the Black community that lived there was saying, ah, that was a charade, ah, that she really intended to turn Cabrini Green in, Cabrini Green into condominiums and in the meantime was just ripping them off, ah, ah, the, ah, and in Uptown she had, ah, gone back on a series of agreements, ah, that would have built about five thousand units of low income housing at a time when the gentrifiers were moving, ah, on Uptown. Ah, the, the issue was really poor Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites, ah, that, ah, Jane Byrne represented a group of people that wanted to gentrify the inner city and run us out. And in the meantime, ah, we were losing affordable housing through fires and arson and burnings, ah, through rent increases or through abandonment, ah, and no new affordable housing was being built. So, that was, that was why we went down there, got a lot of press at the time, ah, because she was trying to show that she was a good person, going to go live in Cabrini Green and people used to say that, ah, "Well Jane Byrne lived in Cabrini Green, that's the first condominium at Cabrini Green." We're going to have all Jane Byrnes and we're not going to be here, ah, that's what that was about.