August 20, 2010

Hillbillies in Chicago, 1958

An excerpt from Hillbillies in Chicago:

Chicago's toughest integration problems happen to involve whites, hillbillies, and not Negroes.

Albert N. Votaw executive director of the Uptown Chicago Commission, writes in Harper's Magazine (February, 1958) on "The Hillbillies Invade Chicago." He says:

A pathetic though bumptious minority of 70,000 newcomers among Chicago's motley population of four million is disturbing the city's peace these days and incidentally proving to everybody who will listen that integration problems often have nothing to do with race, language, or creed. These are Chicago's share of the hundreds of thousands of Southern Hillbillies who have been imported during and since World War II to offset labor shortages in the industrial centers of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois.

'In my opinion they are worse than the colored,' said a police captain. 'They are vicious and knife-happy. They are involved in 75 percent of our arrests in this district.'

'I can't say this publically, but you'll never improve the neighborhood until you get rid of them,' commented a municipal court judge.

Read complete article here.

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