Retrospective of Chicago’s African-American community in the 70s

©ourtesy of theAtlantic & (John H. White/NARA)Chicago's South Side community line a portion of Dr. Martin L. King Jr. DriveDay 3 of Documerica Week on In Focus — a new photo essay each day, featuring regions of the U.S. covered by the photographers of the Documerica Project in the early 1970s. Today’s subject is Chicago’s African-American community, primarily the South Side, documented by photographer John H. White, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism in 1982. White landed a job with the Chicago Sun Times in 1978, and continued to work there until May of 2013, when the newspaper laid off its entire photojournalism department. His portraits of everyday life stand the test of time, inviting the viewer to travel back a few decades, and see just how we lived. The Documerica Project was put together by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1971, with a primary goal of documenting adverse effects of modern life on the environment, but photographers were also encouraged to record the daily life of ordinary people, capturing a broad snapshot of America.

A band performs at the Lake Meadows Shopping Center in Chicago, in August of 1973. A family enjoys a picnic at 12th Street Beach on Lake Michigan, August 1973. A student at the Westinghouse Industrial Vocation School on Chicago's West Side, May 1973 Abandoned building on 37th And Prairie Street. Artist Ron Blackburn paints an outdoor wall mural at the corner of 33rd and Giles Streets in Chicago, June 1973. Chicago's South Side community line a portion of Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, Illinois, October 1973 Elijah Muhammad's Savior's Day Message in Chicago, March 1974. Family at the Church of the Messiah on Chicago's South Side, for the baby's baptism, August 1973. group of bodyguards for Muslim Leader Elijah Muhammad Kadats of America perform on a Sunday afternoon at a community talent show Men pose on a South Side street, May 1974. Mother and child, during an outing at Chicago's 12th Street Beach on Lake Michigan, August 1973. Muslim women dressed in white applaud Elijah Muhammad Muslims applaud Elijah Muhammad during the delivery of his Savior's Day Message Participants on a float during the Bud Billiken Day parade along Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive, August 1973 Residents of Chicago's West Side check out a motorcycle, June 1973. Reverend Jesse Jackson speaks on a radio broadcast from the headquarters of Operation Push Sidewalk merchandise on Chicago's South Side, June 1973. South Side group of children in a playground at 40th and Drexel Boulevard, October 1973 Stateway Gardens highrise housing project on the South Side, May 1973. Street scene on 47th Street, May 1974. Swimmers take to the water at 12th Street Beach on Lake Michigan, in August of 1973. The Isaac Hayes Dancers. Right Musician Isaac Hayes performs at the International Amphitheater The Kadats of America, a young drill team, perform on a Sunday afternoon Wabash Street Bridge over the Chicago River, October 1973. Woman selling Have A Nice Day balloons on a Chicago South Side street corner at Sox Park Baseball Field, June 1973. Woodlawn Community, June 1973. Workers pass the time playing checkers on East 35th Street before going to work in Chicago, May 1973 Worshipers at Holy Angel Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side, October 1973.

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