Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=104417
Story Retrieval Date: 5/22/2013 12:08:14 AM CST
"It's like I'm in a dream," said Alice Atwater, 64, on Obama's victory.
Residents of Altgeld Gardens – a sprawling public housing development on the Far South Side – woke up Wednesday morning to a changed America: A man who devoted several years to improving their community will be the next president of the United States.
“It’s like I’m in a dream,” said Alice Atwater, 64, who doesn’t live in Altgeld but was picking up her grandchildren from school there Wednesday afternoon.
As a young college graduate, Barack Obama organized residents in Altgeld Gardens, a neighborhood of predominantly African-American residents that lies between the Calumet River and one of Chicago’s largest landfills.
For long-time community members who often feel that the area is ignored, the thought of a president who is familiar with the expansive blocks of two-story row houses seemed too good to be true.
Asked whether she supported Obama, longtime Altgeld resident Dorothy Scott, 58, leaned against a car Wednesday and laughed.
“I love Obama!” she said. His victory Tuesday is “the greatest thing in history. Our people, time after time, have fought for this day. People sacrificed their lives for this day.”
Though many Chicago residents claim to have a relationship with Obama, Altgeld residents are particularly proud of their connection.
Signs that say “Altgeld Gardens supports Obama” are proudly displayed in the doors and windows of homes throughout the tight-knit community.
Some Altgeld residents considered whether Obama’s connections would affect their community.
“It’ll be better for seniors, kids in schools, better health care,” said Helen Hogan, 76, who has lived in Altgeld for more than half-a-century. “There could be a lot of improvement.”
“He’s going to fight for all the people, not just [those from] the Gardens,” Scott said. “I don’t think he’ll single out one place.” Obama, she added, will take care of everyone as president.