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Table of Contents > Chapter 11

South Lakefront (continued)

World War II brought many changes to the South Side. It definitively ended the Depression and brought a new prosperity to the city. It also brought a new migration of black people from the South. Because of the restricted housing patterns in Chicago, the Black Belt began to swell under the pressure of a quickly expanding population. Woodlawn, the neighborhood immediately northwest of South Shore, saw its black population almost triple during the war. The Irish and Jewish people of South Shore now saw the Black Belt, from which they had fled, appear on their very doorsteps. For upwardly mobile black people, South Shore began to look like an attractive place to live.

The white community in South Shore seemed determined to hold on, and the 1950 census actually showed a decrease in the black population there, probably because black people who worked in the area could now find housing in neighboring Woodlawn. But the phenomenon of neighborhood change in Chicago was already occurring south of Jackson Park.

The following decade saw a dramatic increase in the black population of South Shore. By 1960 black people comprised ten percent of the population, but they were restricted for the most part to the area west of Stony Island Avenue. A rapid increase in the black population followed another instance of white flight. By 1970, 55,483 blacks lived in South Shore out of a total population of 80,529. The 1970s saw a further increase in this trend.

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