Washington Park (continued)
At the east end of Grand Boulevard, resentment against black
newcomers took the form of a mass meeting on October 20, 1919.
Nearly 1,200 white residents and property owners living on Grand
Boulevard and adjacent streets gathered to protest the increasing
number of blacks in their neighborhood. According to the Chicago
Tribune, the whites adopted the slogan "They Shall Not Pass,"
a warning that Chicago's blacks were unwelcome on Grand Boulevard.
Under the auspices of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Property Owners' Association,
Grand Boulevard residents launched a campaign to make it impossible
for black families to acquire mortgages and insurance. A smaller
group known as the Washington Park Court Improvement Association
vowed not to sell or rent property to blacks.
Increasingly, attempts to hold the color line resulted in violence.
Black homeowners as well as realtors who sold or rented property
to blacks were targets of a bombing campaign which continued throughout
the early 1920s. The office and home of Jesse Binga, a black banker
and real estate dealer, were bombed nearly ten times between March
1919 and November 1920. Black homeowners in the 4500 block of
Vincennes and the 4400 block of Grand Boulevard also were victims
of unidentified bombers. Undeterred, black families continued
to move into the neighborhood. And in 1920 the congregation of
Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church purchased the former Temple
Isaiah at 45th and Vincennes after the Jewish congregation moved
to Hyde Park.
The demand for black institutions in Grand Boulevard intensified,
and before long black congregations bought two of the finest
in the neighborhood-with disastrous results. In 1924 the Greater
Bethel A.M.E. Church at 42nd and Grand Boulevard was completely
destroyed by a fire of suspicious origin. Since the 2,500-member
congregation purchased the former Jewish Lakeside Club in
1922, they had been the target of the Ku Klux Klan, which was
then active in nearby Hyde Park (See Fig. 1). Early
in January 1925 the Bethesda Baptist Church at 53rd and Michigan
$50,000 damage after it was bombed. This former synagogue had
been built in 1914 by the congregation of B'nai Sholom Temple
1: The Lakeside Club, northeast corner Grand Boulevard and
42nd Street, c. 1910. »