Save the Maxwell Street Market (fwd)

Peter Scott U Sask Library Systems Dept
Sat Apr 2 09:34:59 EST 1994

From: Gary F. Langer <>

March 30, 1994

     Mayor Daley Set to Destroy National Landmark Market

The Maxwell Street Market in Chicago is the oldest and largest
open air urban public street market in the U.S. It was a port of
entry on the economic ladder for immigrant Jews, Irish, and
Italians at the turn of the century. It still exists and serves
the same economic toehold function today for inner city Afro-
Americans and Hispanics. Ira Berkow of the New York Times refers
to the Maxwell Street Market as the "Ellis Island of the

People from all over the world would be angry if the Mayor of New
York wanted to demolish the Statue of Liberty to make way for
real estate development on Liberty Island. So too should people
from all over the world be upset that Mayor Daley of Chicago
wants to demolish Maxwell Street.

The Maxwell Street Market is Chicago's premier cultural
attraction. It is the home of the Maxwell Street style of Blues.
Just as it produced Benny Goodman from the past, it has more
recently produced such Blues greats such as Muddy Waters, Kid
Dynamite, Piano C. Red, and Willie James. Some of them still play
outside on Sundays at the Market. Killing Chicago's Maxwell
Street Market is like taking opera from Milan.

People wonder why is there so much crime and violence in the
U.S.. It surely must have to do with the elimination of
opportunities for the poor. Killing Maxwell Street graphically
illustrates what's wrong with America. The Maxwell Street Market
is the only effective business incubator in America that
specifically targets the poor. But it is an informal institution
rather than a government program.  It is an inner city economic
development program that works but takes no government money. 40%
of households that vend at the Market start formal businesses
throughout Chicago because of the experience of selling at the
Market. Researchers at Roosevelt University and the University of
Arizona found that closing the Maxwell Street Market would impose
losses on Chicago's poor and minority populations of over 49
million dollars. Chicago sends its economists to countries all
over the world to push free markets on them. Yet, in their own
city of Chicago, the only market that serves the poor is being

There is ethnic strife all over the world. The U.S. should be a
model of using government policies to ease ethnic tension and
promote economic opportunities for the poor. Killing the Maxwell
Street Market is the equivalent of U.S. ethnic cleansing.
President Clinton says "put people first" but his ally Mayor
Daley says "put land before people."

The Maxwell Street Market can still be saved if people from all
over the world express their concern. Complain to your local U.S.
Embassy or Consulate, ask your newspapers and television news
departments to cover this story, and send an Internet E-Mail
letter of concern to President Clinton: .

- Contact Person: Gary F. Langer,
Maxwell Street Market Coalition

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