Skip to main content
Responding to the Second Ghetto: Chicago's Joe Smith and Sin Corner
Journal of Urban History (2011)
  • Dominic Pacyga, Columbia College Chicago

World War Two and its aftermath transformed Chicago's African American community. The Great Migration entered a second and more intense phase as black migrants flooded into Northern cities. This massive relocation of Southern blacks resulted in the expansion and reformulation of Chicago's ghettoes on both the West and South Sides of the city. The question of a response to this Second Ghetto from African Americans themselves presents itself. White politicians, cultural elites and businessmen still controlled the city and could impose their will on its neighborhoods simply redrawing ghetto boundaries to reflect the new realities of the postwar era. The strange case of Joe Smith and Sin Corner sheds some light on black agency in the 1950s. The African American middle class had resources it commanded to try and protect itself from racial injustice. These resources, however, were based on class privileges not enjoyed by most in the African American community. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

  • malicious accusation,
  • black,
  • Illinois,
  • Chicago,
  • prostitution
Publication Date
January, 2011
Citation Information
Dominic Pacyga. "Responding to the Second Ghetto: Chicago's Joe Smith and Sin Corner" Journal of Urban History Vol. 37 Iss. 1 (2011)
Available at: