Northwestern Prof. Mary Pattillo attempted to demystify negative notions of Chicago’s South Side in a lecture for Evanston residents at the Evanston Public Library Thursday.
The lecture, titled “Four Blocks from Barack: Race, Class and Neighborhood Change on Chicago’s South Side,” provided insight into the lives of people who live in South Side neighborhoods by exploring the area’s history.
“I think for some people the South Side is mysterious, so a lot of people don’t have a lot of balanced information about the South Side,” she said.
Pattillo, a sociology and African American studies professor, specifically detailed the history of the North Kenwood-Oakland neighborhood, claiming its residents were often the victims of unfair public housing practices. She spoke about the rise of Chicago’s black population, which created racial tension with the white community.
The presentation is the second in a series of lectures sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at NU.
“I’m very proud,” said Prof. S. Hollis Clayson, the director of the Institute. “I actually cooked up this idea for my colleagues to speak about topics they know to the people of Evanston. People like Professor Pattillo have a lot of experience talking to outside residents (of NU).”
Medill graduate student Molly Born thought the lecture gave her a better understanding of Chicago.
“I’m really pleased to be here,” she said. “I just moved to the area last fall. I did not know much at all about Chicago in terms of population and identity people have with their neighborhoods.”