Interview with Ed Marciniak

The Chicago Freedom Movement announced housing as it's focus, and sometime around February, Mayor Daley announced his own program to end slums--the movement people charged that this was just a ploy to undermine what they were doing. Was he sincere?


Well, the, the fre- The Chicago freedom movement ultimately chose housing as an issue. Ah, the, the bad housing conditions, ah, ah, were there. There was no doubt about it. The, the housing was deteriorated. The housing was substandard. Ah. I think the mayor's point was I, you can't hold me responsible for the slums of Chicago. Ah, ah, and there's a, there is a real estate market. There are private landlords. There are private owners. Ah, I'm trying to do my best, ah, to end these slums and I'm willing to work with anybody who wants to do something about, ah, improving, ah, housing. Ah, I don't think the mayor was generally, ah, how shall I put it, It was genera- the mayor generally wasn't at home with the expression "slums". And the reason why he wasn't was that he saw very many people who grew up, had a great life, moved out of the area that, th- they had lived in their neighborhood and then later they were told they had lived in a slum. And so he didn't want to create in people an image of themselves as being slum dwellers. And so he had a very difficult time with the word slum and using it. And consequently, I think he would have used another word because he didn't want to fix an image on a family or a person. He wanted that person to feel that he or she could rise out from whatever, ah, status they had been in, whether unemployed or poor, whether, ah, they were new, new migrants of the city or immigrants, whoever--that they could get out of it. But he didn't want them stamped with that slum image. Or, or them to feel that they were in a slum and therefore they couldn't do anything.