Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference records available for research

Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, undated photo

The Special Collections Research Center is pleased to announce that the records of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference are now open and available to researchers.

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC) was founded in 1949 to stem growing physical decay of our South-Side neighborhood and to promote better race relations in the community. Confident that white and African-American people could live peacefully together, and convinced that urban decay was a mutual problem, community leaders formed a new organization whose goal was “to build and maintain a stable interracial community of high standards.” The Conference’s first efforts concentrated on arresting rampant building and zoning violations, improving housing conditions through rehabilitation and tenant unions, and actively engaging with city-wide urban renewal planning. Through the formation of Block Groups, the Conference provided the means for neighbors to interact, discuss common interests and concerns, and cooperatively solve problems at a grass roots level. Over the years, HPKCC programs grew to encompass other issues, including parks and recreation, youth and schools, safety, transportation, and environmental concerns. Today, the HPKCC continues to promote “an attractive, secure, diverse, and caring community.”

The collection contains a wide range of material documenting over sixty years of this important community organization’s activities. This includes administrative records, correspondence, press releases, surveys, newsletters, brochures, clippings, photographs, maps, posters, pamphlets, and much more. The collection captures a unique period in Chicago history, the complexities of urban planning and urban renewal, and the efforts of our neighborhood to remain a diverse and prosperous community.

To learn more about the collection, check out our online guide!

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