Lawndale has a long and proud neighborhood history. Initially settled by eastern Europeans, by the 20th century it was home to a large Jewish community. The city had a rich economic life with the massive Western Electric Hawthorne Works in nearby Cicero employed 43,000 workers. and the massive Sears and Roebuck headquarters on Homan Avenue employed 10,000.

But by the 1950s, the policies of segregation that kept African Americans crammed into the south side ghetto would no longer work. Whites fled from the area and white population dropped from 87,000 in 1950 to less than 11,000 in 1960. The Black population grew from 13,000 in 1950 to more than 113,000 in 1960. or 91% of North Lawndale's population.

Lawndale today has only 41,768 people, 96% Black and among the poorest and most violent neighborhoods in Chicago. More than half of all the housing stock has been destroyed since 1960. Both the Hawthorne Works and the Sears headquarters have closed.

1.Western Electric
2.Sears and Roebuck


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