NPHM Unveils New Logo!

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We are thrilled to unveil our new logo. The logo was designed by Studio Blue, the design firm behind the Power of Place: Campaign for the National Public Housing Museum, the first-place winner of the American Alliance of Museums Publications Design Award. We will be rolling out the logo on our fully on our website and stationary over the coming weeks!

$300k for the National Public Housing Museum in Illinois Capital Budget

Thanks to the leadership of Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter, Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Representative Art Turner, and Senate President John Cullerton, this year's Illinois Capital Budget includes a line item of $300,000 for funding the Museum’s capital campaign to build its new home in the last remaining building of the Jane Addams Homes.

Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter

Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter

As Senator Hunter declared in her letter of endorsement for our project “The Museum is exactly right for these times as it preserves a key chapter of our nation's history”. The Museum is site of conscience a historically significant site that links the past with today’s most urgent social issues.

The Museum’s story starts with a simple truth - that all people have the right to a place to call home. The NPHM highlights the role of public housing in advancing this great, unfulfilled aspiration. Using the arts and culture to archive and share the stories of public housing residents, the Museum will create opportunities for visitors to understand and engage in innovative public policy reform in order to reimagine the future of our communities and our society at large.

Three restored apartments are the core of the Museum. Site-specific exhibitions with historic artifacts and countless personal stories will interpret the nation’s public housing experience from the time of the New Deal’s 1937 Housing Act to the present. Visitors will learn about the intense political struggles over the Housing Act and then President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” which in included “the right of every family to a decent home – mirroring the Museum’s own mission statement that “everyone deserves a place to call home”.

Illinois State Senator Patricia Van Pelt

Illinois State Senator Patricia Van Pelt

Visitors will also learn about the role of redlining, urban renewal, and racism that shaped public housing demographics since its inception. And, how efforts at racial desegregation, political pressure, and cost cutting led to the demolition of distressed high rises in so many cities, and the displacement of tens of thousands of families.

Through storytelling and exhibits the Museum will create opportunities for visitors to understand and engage the public in a conversation about what housing was, and what it could be- driving innovative public policy reform to reimagine the future of our communities, our society, and the places we call home.  

For more information about our work, and the campaign to fund our permanent home at 1322 W Taylor, please click here, or call 773-245-1621.

Saturday Hours

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We're excited to announce that this Saturday, June 8, the Museum will be open for visitors between 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM. Guests will be able to engage with the interactive exhibition, Undesign the Redline, which closes on Tuesday, June 18.

Visit our website FAQ page for more information to plan your trip!

NPHM awarded Champions of Freedom Award!

NPHM staff and board members (left to right): Will Raff, Sunny Fischer, Lisa Lee, Mark Jaeschke, Cleopatra Watson, Gail Dugas, Crystal Palmer.

NPHM staff and board members (left to right): Will Raff, Sunny Fischer, Lisa Lee, Mark Jaeschke, Cleopatra Watson, Gail Dugas, Crystal Palmer.

The NPHM was recently honored by the Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) with their Champions of Freedom Award, whose mission is to educate, organize and empower tenants to have a voice in the decisions that affect the affordability and availability of safe, decent, and accessible housing.

We are thrilled and humbled to accept this award in recognition of all of our partnerships and programs that are committed to amplifying the voices, experiences, and stories of public housing residents. We believe that storytelling can be a catalyst for innovative public policy solutions that are responsive to people’s needs and lived experiences.

NPHM Welcomes Cleopatra Watson to the team!

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The Museum welcomes community organizer Cleopatra Watson, as the Entrepreneurship Hub Coordinator. With a liberal arts degree and Masters of Social Work, from Jane Addams College of Social Work. Recently, Cleopatra ran for Alderman of the 9th ward in one of the most historical municipal elections of our lifetime. The 9th ward is located in the far south region of Chicago and home to 50,000 people many of whom are predominantly black people who live in Altgeld-Murray homes, Pullman, and Rosemoor to name a few communities. For her very first debut she earned more than 25% of the vote! Cleopatra will be instrumental in helping lead the development of this initiative.

The Museum’s Entrepreneurship Hub addresses the systemic and structural barriers to entrepreneurship and aims to a create a robust infrastructure to support a new generation of small businesses and cooperatives by public housing residents.

Equity In Action: The Furture of Affordable Housing Conversation

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Chicago and other metropolitan regions across the U.S. are facing significant stressors to their housing supply—rising construction costs, gentrification in some areas and disinvestment in others, run-down infrastructure, and shifting policies at every level of government. Leading thinkers, designers, artists, agencies and organizations are exploring the most innovative ideas to overcome obstacles and shape the future of affordable housing. These tactics are being implemented locally with projects like the co-located Little Italy Library and Related Midwest’s Taylor Street Apartments, Skender’s prototype modular apartment, and the Disruptive Design competition for new affordable, owner-occupied housing. These innovations will influence the decisions of planners, builders and residents across the nation. Join us to explore innovation already underway and learn about the challenges to be overcome.

Featured Panelists:

  • Ciere Boatright, Vice President of Real Estate and Inclusion, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI)

  • Jacques Sandberg, Vice President of Affordable Housing, Related Midwest

  • Tim Swanson, Chief Design Officer, Skender

Moderator:

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The program will begin at 6 p.m., with time to mingle before and after. The is a free event, but we ask that you register in advance to attend. There is a suggested donation of $10. Snacks and soft drinks will be served.

If you have any additional questions or need special accommodations, please contact our friends at events@metroplanning.org.

NPHM Awarded 40k Art Works Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

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The National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to the National Public Housing Museum to present a solo exhibition of Chicago-born, New York-based artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn (born 1977), and to train current and former public housing residents as museum educators. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program. The agency received 1,592 Art Works applications for this round of grantmaking, and will award 977 grants in this category.

NPHM Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Yun Lee says of the project, "Quinn is a captivating artist who is producing some of the most important paintings today. The fact that his work also grapples with the history of public housing, makes him the perfect artist to inaugurate our contemporary art and cultural workforce training programs at the Museum." Lee also added, “We are proud of our community benefits agreement that commits us to providing museum and art history education for public housing residents, and to co-design a Museum tour with residents that will integrate their lived experiences.”

The exact dates of the exhibit are yet to be determined, but recruitment and training of public housing residents will begin in Fall 2019.

NPHM Hosts On The Table Event

Partnering with Mona Noriega, the Chair and Commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Enterprise Community Partners, and a diverse group of Chicagoans, NPHM hosted a scrumptious and exciting luncheon on May 14th, 2019 to listen, discuss, and re-imagine our city grappling with the history of segregation and divestment due to the legacies of redlining and other systemic forms of racism.  

Participants toured the exhibit Undesign the Redline, and then gathered to generate creative ideas about how we can together intentionally undesign these systems for a more equitable future for all Chicagoans and drafted a a memo that will be shared with our new Mayor.

View photos from the event below!

NPHM Hosts Assessment of Fair Housing Workshop

“It comes down to us, what kind of people we want to be, what kind of society we want to live in...”
-George Lipsitz

On April 25, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Enterprise Community Partners, and Oak Park Regional Housing Center and the National Public Housing Museum held the a conversation and workshop entitled Assessment of Fair Housing: Understanding Our History, Strengthening Our Communities conversation.

The program featured nationally-renowned sociologist, author, and expert on race and inequality, Professor George Lipsitz of the University of California in conversation with Undesign the Redline, a thought-provoking exhibition connecting the history of housing segregation to political and social issues of today, through the powerful narratives of the people and communities affected by redlining and other discriminatory practices.

Thanks to all involved with putting the event together!

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Celebrate National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve collected a few poems written about public housing, as well as poems by public housing residents. Read them below!

A Black Girl’s Attempt At Escaping Gentrification

I pray y’all make my name a good poem
A liquor store lacquer
A flash mob crip walk on Garfield
I pray somebody writes an ode to Englewood
Turn my name into a city of God in gold
A black hole of black girl resurrection

-Patricia Frazier

Warriors Are Us

We are warriors that run through the dark…
We are warriors that yield onto no end…
We are warriors that restrain ourselves from failure…
We are warriors that prevail…
We are warriors hidden in the valley of our domain…
We are warriors not to go insane…
Yet we are warriors that need love…
Nurture the soul into the realm of nature’s source…
The source of heart…
Let us the warriors move forth into the next millennium, carrying the baggage of hope onto our shoulders…
Warriors of our destiny…
We are Lathrop Strong survivors of Earth!

-Tommy Woods, Lathrop Homes

An Inner City Tales (Ode to Cabrini)
Born into a tenement in the heart of the windy city in the summer of sixty-nine,
Fourth small mouth to be fed and second girl in line.
A time just after the assassinations of Malcolm, Medgar, JFK, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
A time when proclamations like "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud," were the in thing.
When Bell-bottomed jeans and afros swayed effortlessly against the wind,
An era when Motown was king and Stax was In!
Our guardians were diligent and always instilled in us the need to get ahead,
Stressing that there is strength in numbers and to stick together no matter what was said.
70', school bells, limited teaching apparatuses and burned out teachers and no recess,
Escaping boredom, through reading autobiographies always held my interest.
Benefiting from RIF (Reading is Fundamental) reading Angelou, Hansberry, Morrison, Moody, X and Cruz.
Discovering and rediscovering, Richard Wright, Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes.
Brown scarred knees from repeatedly falling upon thick blacktop.
Corner stores, liquors stores, ice cream, pickles,
Now-n-laters, barber and beauty shops.
Loud sounds blaring to break through red glistening project walls, Aretha, Chaka, Diana, O'Jays, Jacksons, Curtis Mayfield and Lou Rawls.
Broken elevators, and broken dreams, straightening combs and fade creams.
Mayoral candidates making mockeries out of project residents by handing out
V-necks, turkeys, and miniature Christmas trees in exchange for votes.
Some project residents coming undone and always at each others throats.
Skateboards, hopscotch, jump rope,
Red Light Green Light and Mother May I?
Young men masquerading as gangsters on street corners, over already-conquered city turf, why?
Soon childhood laughter is silenced by gunshots and young bodies dropping.
Caskets, tears, sensing my own mortality at 13, anticipating my own heart stopping.
Guardians' tenacity paid off in the spring of '83 they rescued me,
Before our transition out of the ghetto,
I noticed young women making spaces in their bellies for little ones, completely throwing caution to the wind,
Yeah, babies having babies starting the cycle all over again...

-Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee

The Off/Page Project presents its latest short film, "This is Home," produced in conjunction with The Center for Investigative Reporting's new report on failures of Richmond, Calif.'s housing authority.

Off/Page recruited three Richmond poets -- Deandre Evans, William Hartfield-Peoples and Donte Clark -- to work with CIR reporter Amy Julia Harris in the Hacienda and Nevin Plaza housing projects, interviewing sources and walking through dilapidated, mold-infested buildings during her investigation. The poets also worked with drafts of CIR's research to inform their writing. Playing the roles of both documentarian and storyteller, the poets incorporated Harris' findings into their own investigation of the larger socioeconomic state of Richmond.

Watch the video below:

NPHM Public Art Entrance Announcement!

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We are thrilled to announce that Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous will be creating the public art welcoming entrance of the Museum’s future home at the last remaining building of the Jane Addams Homes at 1322 West Taylor Street. Many thanks to the selection committee, chaired by Deanna Haggag, with Sunny Fischer, Brad White, Peter Landon, Dedrea Gray, Lisa Yun Lee, and Robert Smith, for their work. We look forward to working with Williams and Jeyifous and contributing to an amazing new public art work for the Near-West Side of Chicago!

Their artwork is intended to make a visual statement and help share the Museum’s mission, vision, and values of housing as a human right. If you are interested in supporting the design and installation of this permanent art piece, please contact our Director of Development, Sue Enright, at senright@nphm.org.

In addition to this exciting news, Williams and Jeyifous have also been announced as the designers of the recently commissioned Shirley Chisholm monument in Brooklyn, New York. Chisholm was a trailblazer; she was the first black woman to serve in Congress, representing a district that encompassed Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood where she grew up. Four years later, she ran for president, becoming the first black woman to seek the nomination from either party.

We are so excited to be working with such talented and forward-thinking artists and wish them the best moving forward with the Chisholm monument and beyond!

Lisa Lee, Co-Chair on Lori Lightfoot's Arts & Culture Transition Committee

The NPHM is thrilled that our Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Yun Lee, has been named one of the Co-Chairs of the Arts & Culture Transition Committee for Mayor Elect Lori Lightfoot.

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“I’m proud to announce that this diverse group of leaders from across Chicago will be co-chairing our transition,” said Lightfoot. “It is a mix of experienced professionals who have worked long and hard for decades on the most pressing issues facing the city, and new voices bringing fresh perspectives.”

Lee will be working with other co-chairs, artist Nick Cave, Art Institute Trustee Denise Gardener, and President of the National Museum of Mexican art, Carlos Tortelero, along with a broad and diverse group of Chicago’s arts and cultural workers to advise and shape initiatives for the new administration.

Undesign the Redline Exhibition Opening Reflections

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Last week we launched our newest exhibition, Undesign the Redline, with our partners, the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance (CAFHA), at our gallery space at 625 N. Kingsbury Street. A collaboration with Enterprise Community Partners, Designing the WE, and Elevated Chicago, Undesign details the history of systemic discriminatory housing policy from the 1920s to the present day, alongside stories of resistance and activism against housing discrimination.

To compliment the exhibition, the NPHM has also curated works by two artists that showcase Redlining and housing activism; Celestia Morgan’s Redline, which examines neighborhoods in Birmingham, Alabama, and a collection of color photographs taken by Bernard Kleina of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Chicago in 1966 and the Chicago Freedom Movement.

You can read more about the exhibition courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times.

A huge thank you to CAFHA for launching this exhibition with us, to Enterprise, Designing the WE, and Elevated Chicago for the creation of the panels, and to all who attended and commemorated the life and legacy of Dr. King last night.

If you weren't able to attend the opening, you can visit Undesign the Redline Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If you're interested in booking a tour, please contact Mark Jaeschke or call us at (773) 245-1621.

NPHM Celebrates Women's History Month

In observance of Women’s History Month, NPHM celebrates the life and accomplishments of Dorothy Gautreaux, a community organizer, housing activist and resident of the Altgeld-Murray apartments in the South Side of Chicago. Together with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gautreaux filed suit against the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), alleging racial discrimination in the distribution of public housing in the city of Chicago.

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While Gautreaux died of cancer before a ruling was made, a Federal Judge found in favor of Gautreaux shortly after in 1969. The impacts of this case on the fair and equitable distribution of public housing are widely felt today in Chicago and beyond. The restructuring of City Council rules diminished the control of aldermen over the development of public housing in their wards, which had led to almost all public housing being built in poor, black neighborhoods.

The resulting “scattered site” program in the city led to a more even distribution of public housing amongst Chicago’s various neighborhoods. The Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program helped people living in public housing move to communities which had previously been closed off to them.

Nationally, the program inspired Congress to create the Moving to Opportunity Program, helping families in public housing across the country move to more economically prosperous and racially diverse neighborhoods. Gautreaux’s case continues to shape how the CHA plans and develops housing in the city, and her activism was vital to the success of one of the most influential public housing desegregation lawsuits in the nation’s history.

To learn more about the nationwide history of housing segregation and activism, please visit the Museum’s upcoming exhibit Undesign the Redline, opening April 4th at our office on 625 N. Kingsbury St.

Undesign the Redline Exhibition Opening

Exhibit Opens April 4th at 5:30 PM
FREE and open to the public
With a party co-sponsored by Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
625 N Kingsbury St. Chicago, IL.
5:30-7:30 PM

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The National Public Housing Museum invites you to the opening of an important interactive exhibit connecting the intentional and systematic racial housing segregation of the 1930s to political and social issues of today. Explore the history of housing discrimination and activism through the powerful narratives of the people and communities affected by redlining and its legacy.

Be inspired by stories of vision and change. Become part of the conversation for new equitable policies and practices.

Exhibit is presented by Enterprise Community Partners, Designing the WE and Elevated Chicago

A collection of the only known color photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Chicago Freedom Movement, taken by Bernard Kleina during King’s visit to Chicago in 1966, will be on display. The exhibit will also feature an installation by Celestia Morgan that explores the histories of racially-based housing discrimination exemplified in Birmingham, Alabama.


Learn more here.

This event is wheelchair accessible. Individuals requiring sign-language interpreters, real-time captioners, or other accommodations should contact Mark Jaeschke at 773.245.1621 or mjaeschke@nphm.org at least one week in advance of the event.

Oral History Corps Benefit Performance

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Please join the National Public Housing Museum on March 20th at 7:30 PM at the Court Theater for Ntozake Shange's cherished work for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. Tickets to this event were graciously donated by the Court Theatre.

The Archive is a collection of diverse and compelling stories of people who lived in public housing spanning from the 1940’s to the current moment. The collection includes intimate narratives that bear witness to an American history that is both brilliantly ambitious and deeply troubled. The Archive documents the histories of those not typically included in the mainstream record, and inspires listeners to discover opportunities, where many others might see only poverty and despair.  

The Oral History Corps is made up of an extraordinarily diverse group of individuals that the National Public Housing Museum has trained in recording, ethics, and interviewing skills. The Corps includes members who lived in public housing, as well as those who are committed in their work and lives to public housing.

The Play:  A sisterhood of eight women tell their stories through dramatic prose poetry, music, and movement. Told in vivid language, their experiences resound with fearless beauty and unity, despite exposing the unending challenges and oppressions that women of color face every day.

Director Seret Scott (Native Son) returns to playwright Ntozake Shange’s work after performaning as a member of the original Broadway cast from 1976-1978. She will inspire new audiences with this series of stories that still resonate profoundly forty years later.


You can purchase your ticket here.

Court Theatre is located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue on the University of Chicago's Hyde Park Campus. The theatre is across the street from the Gerald Ratner Athletic Center, just south of the parking garage. Please print copies of your ticket or present the receipt on your phone upon arrival to the theatre.

Transit
The #55 Garfield bus stops on 55th Street at S. Ellis Avenue. From the Loop, patrons can transfer from the Garfield Red Line train or the #6 Jackson Park Express. For more public transportation options, please visit TransitChicago.com.

Parking
Court Theatre offers free evening and weekend parking to its patrons in the garage at 55th Street and S. Ellis Avenue. Enter the garage from S. Ellis Avenue or S. Greenwood Avenue, and take a ticket from the machine upon entrance. For 30 minutes following the performance, the S. Ellis Avenue gate will automatically raise when your car approaches for a free and easy exit. It is not necessary to insert your ticket upon exisiting at the gate. If you stay for a post-show discussion, please as the House Manager for a validation ticket. There is accessible parking available in the garage.

Watts Up? Screening at NPHM

Join us on February 24 at 2 PM at the National Public Housing Museum offices for a viewing of the Watts Up?, a special 25-minute documentary produced at the Watts Arts Tower by community members from Imperial Courts, Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens in Los Angeles. The documentary focuses on the one year anniversary of the 1992 Watts Truce between the Crips and Bloods and the impacts it had on the community. The truce was declared in the days leading up to the the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and has been frequently been considered to be a major component of the decline of street violence in the city in the years and decades afterwards.

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In a video production class led by Nancy Buchanan and the late Michael Zinzun, Watts Arts Tower residents were taught how to shoot and edit video, and produced Watt’s Up that reviewed the impact of the gang truce after it had been in effect for one year, as well as looking at the systematic issues that allowed for the disenfranchisement of their communities.