From June through October 1973 and briefly during the spring of 1974, John H. White, a 28-year-old photographer with the Chicago Daily News, worked for the federal government photographing Chicago, especially the city`s African American community. White took his photographs for the Environmental Protection Agency`s (EPA) DOCUMERICA project. As White reflected recently, he saw his assignment as “an opportunity to capture a slice of life, to capture history.” His photographs portray the difficult circumstances faced by many of Chicago`s African American residents in the early 1970s, but they also catch the “spirit, love, zeal, pride, and hopes of the community.”
Today, John White is a staff photographer with the Chicago Sun-Times. He has won hundreds of awards, and his work has been exhibited and published widely. In 1982 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
“Chicago ghetto on the South Side. Although the percentage of Chicago blacks making $7,000 or more jumped from 26% to 58% between 1960 and 1970, a large percentage still remained unemployed. The black unemployment rate is generally assumed to be twice that of the national unemployment rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
(All photos and text courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)