Chicago Freedom Movement

Fulfilling the Dream

Andrew Young

“The ‘summit agreement’ of August 26 was signed as a result of the Palmer House meetings and included commitments by the city’s Real Estate Commission to carry out a fair and open housing policy and establish a process to investigate complaints. There were no guarantees on implementation, but we felt we had taken a significant step forward. For the first time, they had acknowledged a pattern of injustice in Chicago housing practices and had promised to do something about it. Viewed from the perspective of the mid-1990s, when the memory of strict housing discrimination has nearly faded away, it should be said that the Chicago agreement was far more advanced than it may now seem. We felt we had done well, considering the tremendous pressure we were under in Chicago. We had been attacked by the mayor, who resorted to the courts in an attempt to halt our marches and rent strikes, by local and state politicians who denounced us, by the national media, which treated us as if we were presumptuous to attempt a campaign in Chicago in the first place, and by Archbishop John Cody, who was the leader of the most populous and wealthy Diocese of Chicago and was the most powerful Catholic clergyman in America. Within the Chicago coalition there were also attacks by CORE and, of course, by the Chicago chapter of SNCC.”

Andrew Young, An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America (New York: HarperCollins, 1996), p. 415.

(Biographical note: Andrew Young was one of the top figures in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the Chicago Freedom Movement. He subsequently served as the mayor of Atlanta and as a United States Congressman.)

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