Industrial Areas Foundation Records

Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago - Special Collections and University Archives
Richard J. Daley Library
801 S. Morgan St., Room 3-330
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-996-2742
Date: 1952-2004
Extent: 86.5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
In 1940, with financial support from Marshall Field III, Saul Alinsky established the Industrial Areas Foundation. The philosophy of the Foundation is to organize the powerless, propertyless people of an area for the purpose of building an organization which would afford them the opportunity and power to act on matters involving their welfare, and to elect or designate representatives to participate in decision making and/or lobbying for them on a local and national level. The power block community organizations established in urban areas focused attention on housing (slums, discrimination, urban renewal), economics (higher wages, better working conditions), and social conditions (reduction of crime rate, recreational facilities, school integration). Numerous community groups were organized by the Industrial Areas Foundation in white working class urban communities throughout the United States. Within the city of Chicago, the Industrial Areas Foundation not only organized community committees in both white middle class and African American ghetto areas, but it served as consultants and conducted extensive studies. In 1960, with financial support from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and other religious denominations, the Industrial Areas Foundation was invited into an African American ghetto community; the Woodlawn section of Chicago. The Temporary Woodlawn Organization, formerly constituted in March of 1962 as The Woodlawn Organization (TWO), was immediately confronted with many issues. They included southward extension of the University of Chicago, slum housing conditions, consumer exploitation, and integration of public schools. Subsequent to their success in Woodlawn, the Industrial Areas Foundation received invitations from African American ghetto communities throughout the United States.

Scope and Content Note:
This collection reflects the activities of the Industrial Areas Foundation. The IAF has been headquartered in both New York and Chicago, but the materials were produced by affiliates across the country. The records date from 1952 to 2004 and include correspondence, campaign materials, organizers' field reports, newspaper clippings, organizational publications, annual reports, and training materials. The materials prior to 1968 reflect the IAF under Saul Alinsky, while the materials produced since 1973 reflect the modern IAF under Ed Chambers. The materials generated between 1968 and 1973 reflect the transitional period when the training institute originated and IAF activities became more institutionalized.

The IAF collection is divided into eleven series. The first two series consist of materials from Saul Alinsky's IAF, prior to 1973. The remaining nine series include: Early IAF Organizations, IAF Coverage, Training Institute, Modern IAF Affiliates, International Affiliates, General Operations, Associated Organizations, IAF 50th Anniversary, and Photos.

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