H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Wood brought her liberal social
vision to public housing in Chicago, and
argued that public housing should provide
desirable homes for families and children.
Wood became the first executive
secretary of the newly created Chicago
Housing Authority (CHA) in 1937, she called
for a "bold and comprehensive" rebuilding of
public housing. Wood envisioned racially integrated public housing, scattered
throughout the city. She argued that thoughtfully planned public housing
could help to solve urban problems such as slums, crime, and poverty. During
this time, Wood lived here at 3145 North Cambridge Avenue.
her tenure with the CHA, Wood oversaw the construction of residences for
more than 60,000 people, including many who lived in the Cabrini-Green Homes,
the Ida B. Wells Homes, and the Julia C. Lathrop Homes.
also constantly found herself battling aldermen who did not want public
housing built in their neighborhoods. Her refusal to compromise on issues
of patronage was considered arrogant by many involved in Chicago's entrenched
political machine. Wood's attempt to integrate the Trumbull Park Homes in
1953 contributed to prolonged racial violence, and led to her departure
from the CHA.