Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Chicago's Three Black Communities

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The black “coalition” is crumbling.

    Today, Carol Moseley Braun won the endorsement of Freddrenna Lyle and Michelle Harris, two South Side aldermen who were part of the Chicago Coalition for Mayor, which chose Danny Davis as its consensus candidate last month.

    At the time, Moseley Braun huffed that “we will learn who the real consensus candidate is on Election Day.”

    It’s not surprising that Moseley Braun managed to peel off two members of the coalition. It would be more surprising if the black community actually did unite behind a single candidate. Chicago’s blacks are not monolithic. In fact, there are three black communities. Each has its own favorite son or daughter, which makes unity even more difficult.

    There’s the South Side, represented by Moseley Braun. There’s the West Side, represented by Danny Davis. And there’s Out South, represented by James Meeks. Each has its own identity, and its rivalries with the other two.

    The South Side looks down on the West Side, because the folks there are “country.” The West Side resents the South Side, because the folks there are stuck up and “bourgeois.”

    When state Sen. Rickey Hendon nearly got into a tussle with Barack Obama in the Capitol, it was in his mind that he couldn’t hold his head up in his tough West Side district if he lost a fight to a fey Hyde Parker.

    Out South is marginal: Meeks’s senate district takes in a few Far South Side neighborhoods, but most of his constituents live in the suburbs, where they can’t vote for him for mayor. His district office is in Calumet City.

    When Davis was picked by the Chicago Coalition for Mayor, he got his strongest from Ald. Walter Burnett, who called him “one of the hardest working congressmen.” Burnett is a West Sider. Expect him to stick with Davis.