Interview with Bernard Lafayette

Very briefly, why was Marquette Park chosen?


Well, Marquette Park was chosen because it was a community that was far removed from the dividing line where Blacks and Whites lived and the problem is that we wanted to ah, try to overcome that line and move people further from that line of demarcation where the blockbusting was taking place. The other reason is because, ah, Marquette Park was a place where you had a pretty much a solid White community and Blacks were not allowed to live there and they were not shown houses by the real estate agent or apartments and that sort of thing. Now the reason we chose Marquette Park also is because it, ah, represented a political entity in the sense that it was a swing vote in that community, and we knew that would get the attention of the Democratic, ah, you know, leadership, ah, in that kind of swing community because it would draw attention to them. And also we recognized that, ah, when people, when Blacks, ah, would move in to many of these all White communities, that the real estate agents would tell the Whites in the community that the value of their property was going to go down. But in fact when a Black would move in, the property, the cost of the property would go up. So they'd tell Whites one thing and Blacks something else on the other hand. So it was not true that the values, property values went down. It was only when Whites would buy into that kind of argument and ah, that kind of impression that was given by the real estate agents. So it was demonic in a sense.