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PHOTO ESSAY

Dr. Martin Luther King and the Chicago Freedom Movement

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Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King take up residence in a Chicago slum

Photograph by John Tweedle, courtesy of Dianne Tweedle.

King's first act in Chicago got national media attention. In January, he and Coretta Scott King moved into an apartment on 1550 S. Hamlin Ave., in the middle of Chicago's Lawndale neighborhood, with the intention of publicizing the conditions of slum apartments. That plan was foiled when the managers of the building discovered the identity of their new tenant. Within days (and reported in great detail in the city's black paper, the Chicago Defender), major repairs were made to the apartment and the building. The stove and refrigerator were replaced, new plumbing fixtures added, a toilet seat was provided where there had been none, and a light fixture where there had been exposed wires. In addition, part of the flooring was replaced and some of the walls replastered. Most importantly to a Chicago resident in the middle of the winter: the heating system was repaired. One tenant of the building was quoted in the Defender, January 24, 1966, "They even fixed my radiators. All I can say is thank the Lord he has come. I thank God he decided to move here." King and Coretta Scott King are pictured above on their first day in the apartment, which was furnished by SCLC and CCCO from local second-hand stores. The same day King met with police and toured the neighborhood. The couple also met with neighborhood children and six members of the Vice Lords gang stopped by for a visit.

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