Blues Power by PEte Evans

By PEte Evans

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A significant proportion of exploitative contract sellers were Jewish. Although it was federal-level decisions about credit flows that most damaged black home buyers, the disastrous results of those decisions stoked sometimes bitter tensions over religion and ethnicity. This was true everywhere, but perhaps most intensely in Chicago. A Catholic-run city and home to the largest archdiocese in the country, Chicago had a Protestant banking and business elite, powerful Jewish, Catholic, and African American traditions of left-wing Popular Front organizing, and equally entrenched Jewish, Catholic, and African American traditions of illicit dealings that ran the gamut from occasional graft to organized crime.

Yet that wasn’t my brother’s view. “I wrote the article to defend our father,” he told me. ” Who had started these rumors? Were they spread by the “enemies—big and comfortable ones,” that my father’s Daily News obituary had described? Or was there more to it than that? I wondered, because of what I’d learned about Irving Block, the attorney who had helped to settle my father’s estate. About six weeks before his death, my father had written to his sister Helen, “I would suggest for help regarding any aspect of the building you call IRVING BLOCK….

Most of all, it was tarred by its very success as a way station for Jewish migrants. It was the home of numerous institutions that had helped those migrants adjust to American life.

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