John White: Portrait of Black Chicago

Part One

The captions are John White`s own, written some time after he took his photographs. In some cases White used virtually the same caption for several images.

"Sunrise on Lake Michigan with Chicago shown in the background. The city has provided a climate for developing black resources and is considered the black business capital of the United States. There were 8,747 black owned businesses which grossed more than $332 million in 1970 according to the Census. In 1972 black owned financial institutions in Chicago had assets of $254.9 million."

"Black sidewalk salesmen arranging their fresh fruits and vegetables on Chicago`s South Side. Many of the city`s black businessmen started small and grew by working hard. Today Chicago is believed to be the black business capital of the United States. Black Enterprise Magazine reported in 1973 that the city had 14 of the top 100 black owned businesses in the country, one more than New York City."

"Black products was one of the themes at the annual Black Expo held in Chicago. Also present were black education, talent, a voter registration drive and other aspects of black consciousness. The aim is to make blacks aware of their heritage and capabilities and help them towards a better life."

"Empty housing in the ghetto on Chicago`s South Side. Structures such as this have been systematically vacated as a result of fires, vandalism, or failure by owners to provide basic tenant services. Then the vacated buildings, often substantially salvageable, are razed and replaced with high-rise apartments which appeal to few members of the black community and almost none of the area`s previous residents."

Chicago ghetto on the South Side. Although the percentage of Chicago blacks making $7,000 or more jumped from 26% to 58% between 1960 and 1970, a large percentage still remained unemployed. The black unemployment rate is generally assumed to be twice that of the national unemployment rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

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