North Lawndale's most famous resident was Dr. Martin Luther King, who moved into an apartment on this site at 1550 South Hamlin 50 years ago last week to draw attention to racial discrimination in the north. Mayor Richard J. Daley was at best indifferent to King's move, after all besides municipal government, the legendary boss of Chicago believed the only community presence needed by the city's blacks was the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization. MLK obviously disagreed.Ruberry's basic premise in most of his urban exploration trips through the area is that Chicago is going in the wrong direction. It could be said he's documenting Chicago's decline. Although I may not agree at least we're seeing a part of the city no one else may take note of.
After King's assassination, as with West Garfield Park, North Lawndale was hit hard by the riots that followed. King's apartment was damaged during that upheaval and later torn down and for decades a vacant lot was all that was left at 1550 S. Hamlin. Five years ago the Dr. King Legacy Apartments opened on the site--and they look darn sharp.
I hope to share some more past urban explorations from the Marathon Pundit.