North Lawndale: What Stopped This Neighborhood From Thriving?

North Lawndale
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North Lawndale

North Lawndale, located on Chicago’s west side, is home to about 36,000 people of the entire city’s population of approximately 2.8 million. This neighborhood has a very rich and historical past but in the last few decades has taken a turn for the worse.  Crime, poverty, low funded schools, and many other issues currently plague the community.

According to the Chicago Tribune, between 2013 and 2016, records indicate there was a steady increase in gun violence in the community. There were a documented 282 shootings and 34 homicides in 2016.

Those numbers were significantly higher than the previous 3 years. 2016’s recorded numbers nearly double the shootings and homicides of 2015; approximately 118 shootings and 24 homicides.

In 2014 there were 80 shootings and nine homicides. Lastly, 2013 was the lowest out of the 4 years. The homicides were higher than those in 2014, but the shootings were lower with about 78 shootings and 20 homicides.

  • About 28 percent of the residents in the community have a high school diploma.
  • 43 percent of the households subside below the poverty line.
  • Approximately 65 percent of residents have been incarcerated at one point in their lives.
  • In the local high school, Collins Academy, zero percent of the students are at grade level on standardized tests.

Some wonder why North Lawndale has not received any rehabilitation or attention toward its current impoverished state. As of December 2017, 56 percent of children ages of 6-11 live in poverty. The cause of this deficiency in North Lawndale is due to lack of employment and jobs in the area.

It is also because there is not enough funding going into the neighborhood. Many of the schools in the community suffered from being underfunded and most of the students come from low-income families.

However, according to its history, North Lawndale was not always like this. There have been many historically important people who live in or contribute to the neighborhood. Many Chicagoans do not know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was once a resident of the area.

In 1966, he lived at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue, during the time he was marching and campaigning against house discrimination. Other notable former-residents are former NBA Champions, Kevin Garnett and Isiah Thomas.

With North Lawndale slowly deteriorating, the main question still remains unanswered. Who or what will it take to turn this historically rich neighborhood back into what it once was?

Written By Parris Winfrey
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Chicago Tribune: Data: North Lawndale Violence and Demographics
West Side Info: Westside Demographics
Trulia: Crime Data In North Lawndale

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Eric Allix Roger’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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