[Voices of Cabrini raw: George Robbins eviction notice]

Raw video shot for "Voices of Cabrini." Shot between 1995-1999, it documented the Cabrini Green redevelopment project proposed and carried out by the City of Chicago. This video was recorded inside George Robbins's barbershop at 456 W. Division Street and features a long interview with George Robbins. He discusses his eviction notice and the future of his business.

0:17Copy video clip URL Open to George Robbins sitting in his barbershop. He recounts and reads aloud his eviction notice: “Dear Mr. Robbins…[your lease] shall be terminated at midnight August 1, 1997…due to the condemnation procedure…demolition will start August 6, 1997…”

3:40Copy video clip URL The letter notification of termination of lease is from July 16, just two weeks notice: “Hopefully I’ll have a place I can continue operating from.”

5:25Copy video clip URL Robbins, referring to a letter he received several months prior: “I just got a letter notifying me I was in the redevelopment area…”

8:14Copy video clip URL Robbins says he’d like to relocate in the area.

9:39Copy video clip URL Robbins: “There’s probably a year’s space between leaving this space and getting into a new space.” He wonders whether he’ll be allowed into the newly developed mall around the corner.

10:42Copy video clip URL Robbins: “I’ll probably lose a third of my clientele by moving away from this area…” Robbins says he hasn’t told his brother about the eviction notice.

15:31Copy video clip URL Robbins discusses his strategies for generating a new clientele once he moves: canvassing, signage, and radio advertisements.

18:00Copy video clip URL Robbins takes the crew through his calendar schedule, and how he will try to fit in the move while also working as long as possible.

20:14Copy video clip URL Robbins: “The best thing I can do is find another place and be ready once they start demolition here.” He talks about how he hasn’t received any form of compensation for the move.

26:36Copy video clip URL A customer sits down for a haircut. They chat about the changes in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood.

29:57Copy video clip URL Robbins mentions to his customer that he has to be out of his barbershop by August 6. He and his customer talk about what new shops are coming to the area.

37:05Copy video clip URL Robbins asks his customer if he, the customer, has been finding any good construction work.

38:23Copy video clip URL Close up of a laminated sign that reads: “Attention Near North Community Residents. Looking for Skilled Tradespeople with Union Cards for Job Opportunities in the Community. Applications Being Accepted Now at Mohawk-North construction trailer located off the corner of Larrabee and Blackhawk applicants must apply in person between 9am to 2pm. ask for Ms. Lacy Wilson.” Robbins and his customer continue to chat.

38:44Copy video clip URL Close up of Robbins’s “Prices” sign that lists the kinds of haircuts he offers.

38:57Copy video clip URL Another customer sits at the empty barber chair. He asks the camera crew how they, Columbia College students, “get down to the hood from there.” Camera cuts. Robbins makes change for his customer.

40:24Copy video clip URL Bezalel references the book “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960” by Arnold R. Hirsch. Robbins in turn references “Reclaiming the Inner City: Chicago’s Near North Revitalization Confronts Cabrini-Green” by Ed Marciniak. Robbins says that Marciniak predicts that white suburbanites will come back to “reclaim” the area. He also suggests to Bezalel that she go to Bughouse Square near the Newberry Library to buy a copy. He predicts that that the river will be lined with nice town homes soon.

43:32Copy video clip URL An older woman enters the barbershop. She has lived in the neighborhood for over 75 years. Once she leaves, Robbins talks a little about her history in the area.

47:09Copy video clip URL Robbins talks about his childhood move to Cabrini-Green. He moved to Wells and Wheeling in 1953. Then, a young boy enters the barbershop and waits for his turn. His sister and mother also enter. Robbins explains to the mother the purpose of the documentary. The mother describes how her own mother moved to 1157 N Cleveland very early in the project’s history. She describes the downfall of “the sense of community” at Cabrini-Green and how people used to take care of each other’s children.

52:45Copy video clip URL Robbins asks her whether the lack of strong male role models added to gang activity. She agrees: “Now, with more women out in the work sector when they have children…they [latch key kids] have to take care of themselves.” She describes how males play a pivotal part in child rearing and, in contrast, what family life looks like in Cabrini-Green today.

57:09Copy video clip URL She responds to the camera man and tells him the history of her family’s immigration to Chicago from Lexington, KY. She tells her own history about how she initially planned to get a Registered Nurse degree from Mt. Sinai, but she met her husband before she could start the program. She reiterates how beautiful the Cabrini-Green community was back then.

1:00:39Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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