...Bevel was the first person who was a real activist who seemed really interested in [contract selling]. ...And so I got him all set up to go to the next staff meeting and make a presentation about this whole thing. And he did that, I mean I didn’t go, I wasn’t in their inner circle. He came back and he said to me, it didn’t work. And I said, why do you think that is. He said, well, the other idea that we’re looking at is creating tenants unions. He said, and the argument that won the day was tenants unions because if people have contracts they are at least well enough off to own property. But the tenants weren’t, they were totally bereft of any resources.2
The Chicago Freedom Movement went on to organize tenants unions and lead marches into all-white neighborhoods where they were often met with violent responses. They held a freedom rally at Soldier Field, and King posted a list of demands for open housing on the doors of City Hall that would have benefited contract buyers as well. Here is a link to a collection of Tribune photos of King’s time in Chicago.
|King speaking at Soldier Field rally (Tribune)|
1 "Chicago Freedom Movement, 1966" pbs.org
2 Interview with John McKnight, Nov. 7, 2012.
3 Frisbie. "An Alley in Chicago". Ch. 16.