Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer John H. White was hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to document the lives of the 1.2 million black residents of Chicago from 1973 to 1974.

According to Mashable, White was meticulous in his venture to capture everyday life, spending almost 2 years on the project:

For two years, White explored the city, making intimate and powerful pictures of neighbors and strangers, capturing Chicagoans in states of joy, sorrow, reverence and celebration. He supplemented his images with meticulously researched captions that drew on statistics to illuminate the economic landscape of the “black business capital of the United States.”

White himself laments this is a project indicative of cultural representation:

Many black faces in this project… portray pride, love, beauty, hope, struggle, joy, hate, frustration, discontent, worship and faith. In short, portraits of people who feel they are individuals and are proud of their heritage.

Check out the beautiful images below.

chicago-2
July 1973 A father and son at a worship service at Wrigley Field during the Jehovah’s Witness Annual Convention.
chicago-3
August 1973
chicago-4
May 1973 A student at the Westinghouse Industrial Vocation School on the west side of Chicago.
chicago-6
June 1973 A balloon salesman on 47th Street.
chicago-7
August 1973 Beauty queens from around the city stand on a float during the Bud Billiken Day Parade.
chicago-8
August 1973 Women ride along Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in the Bud Billiken Day Parade
chicago-9
May 1973 Children play outside the Ida B. Wells Homes, one of Chicago’s oldest housing projects.
chicago-10
August 1973 A family enjoys the weather at 12th Street Beach on Lake Michigan.
chicago-30
August 1973 A woman plays on 12th Street Beach on Lake Michigan.
chicago-12
June 1973 Residents on the west side of Chicago.
chicago-13
June 1973 Children play on a balcony in the Robert Taylor Homes.
chicago-14
June 1973 A fruit stand on the south side of Chicago.
chicago-15
June 1973 Children play in the water of a fire hydrant on the south side of Chicago.
chicago-16
August 1973 Children dance in an empty lot on South Princeton Avenue.
chicago-17
May 1973 Youths play basketball at the Stateway Gardens housing project.
chicago-18
May 1974 Men on the south side of Chicago.
chicago-20
June 1973 Residents of a housing project on the west side of Chicago.
chicago-21
March 1974 A Muslim woman reacts while listening to Elijah Muhammad deliver an address.
chicago-22
May 1973 Workers play checkers on East 35th Street before their shift.
chicago-23
October 1973 Children play in a playground at 40th Street and Drexel Boulevard.
chicago-24
August 1973 Children in the Kadats of America drill team perform in a community talent show on the south side of Chicago.
chicago-25
October 1973 Worshippers at Holy Angel Catholic Church on the south side of Chicago.
chicago-27
August 1973 A guitarist performs at the Lake Meadows Shopping Center.
chicago-28
July 1973 An unemployed man sits on a windowsill in an economically depressed area on the south side.
chicago-29
June 1973 A mother and child on the south side of Chicago.
chicago-32
June 1973 A couple and their dog in their south side apartment.
chicago-33
August 1973 A couple brings their daughter to the Church of the Messiah to be baptized.
chicago-34
June 1973 A child enjoys a snow cone on the west side of Chicago.
chicago-35
May 1973 A teenager at the Robert Taylor Homes on the south side of Chicago.
chicago-36
August 1973 A man naps outdoors on the south side.
chicago-37
October 1973 A student reads in a Black Studies class in a school on the west side.
chicago-5
August 1973 A teenager flexes for the camera during a community program on the south side of Chicago.

Go to Mashable.com to see more. Ladies, what are your thoughts?

Leave a Reply

7 Comments on "32 Beautiful Images of Black Life in 1970s Chicago"

Notify of
avatar
dwntomars

This was so beautiful. It gave me chills.

Milos Mom

I enjoyed that so much. Beautiful.

Gmaine Ford

Redlining block busting and the effects thereof witness I’m this photo

Natalie White

I absolutely loved this!

Orihime11

This is giving me all kinds of life!!

S. Williams

born and raised (until I was 12 but I still go back) so many memories as I recognize many of the places in the photos

BVAX

Beautiful!

wpDiscuz