Footage for the documentary "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 contains footage of Robbins Barber Shop and a town hall meeting.
00:05Copy video clip URL Open on a trashed lot. People and police are gathered around an assortment of objects in the lot, like chairs and a small cabinet. The lot appears to be the site of an underground flea market. Audio comes in and police officer is heard saying: “Okay, I’m giving you fair warning.” They walk away but a man holding a t-shirt follows them. We cannot hear their discussion. The group begins collecting trash from the lot and throwing it into a trash bin. A man, Dennis Eugene Rogers, says: “I don’t like them [the police], because they don’t like us. It’s that simple.” Someone had been drinking alcohol in public so the police broke up their meeting. The man continues to describe the various police-created injustices and harassment.
5:36Copy video clip URL Rogers: “Thing about it is, they’re arresting us over here, but why aren’t they over there arresting the gang bangers who are killing people and robbing people…who are we bothering? If we’re doing damage to anybody it’s to ourselves…”
6:05Copy video clip URL Cut to outside the same empty lot but from a different angle, outside a currency exchange. The shot looks east down Division Street. Then, looking west, we see Rogers getting his shopping cart in order. He requests that the camera turn away from him. Video of a woman wearing an orange shirt, smoking.
7:29Copy video clip URL Inside George Robbins’s barbershop. He chats with a customer about his barbershop getting relocated during the redevelopment.
9:02Copy video clip URL Robbins: “We’ve known for about a year now that we have to move….it’s different when you own your property. I have to deal with my landlord and my landlord has to deal with the city, so that’s how that works…”
10:59Copy video clip URL Robbins gives the timeline of his business and its locations. He started as an independent business on Larrabbee and Hobby, then to the basement of 1150 Larrabbee, and now he’s been settled at his current location for 20 years. A man named Ted walks into the shop. Robbins: “They’re doing a documentary on Cabrini…gonna show the real thing…” Ted gives his biography.
12:50Copy video clip URL Ted gives a history of public housing in Chicago: “Ida B. Wells, Altgeld Gardens, and then Cabrini…it’s just a good section of town.” Robbins, Robbins’s brother, Moe, and Ted try to figure out exactly when Cabrini was built.
17:44Copy video clip URL Robbins: “The projects were around a good ten years before the gangs got in them. The gangs just came in the later years, mid-60s…maybe even into the 70s…and that’s when we started having real serious problems.” Robbins talks about the two parent households that defined the early years of Cabrini: “If you tore up the grass your parent would have to pay for it…all that made it good, because everyone tried to work together at that time to keep the area nice, but then later, I think, the migration of a lot of people from the South and a lot of younger people being allowed to move in, like single women, who didn’t have a father in the home to help out with the kids…things just kind of got out of hand.” He talks about curfews, gangs, the city’s neglect and immigration.
20:49Copy video clip URL Ted: “One of the things that went wrong with Cabrini and probably all the projects–they should have left the Northsiders on the North side as far as the janitors…and they wouldn’t mess up the hallways or the elevators, because they knew this individual knew his family…” Robbins compares the high rises on the lake front with the high rises in Cabrini, the greatest difference was maintenance and supervision. Conversation returns to Ted’s biography. He had lived in the area since 1955.
23:16Copy video clip URL Ted: “I come back here because my friends are here. I know and went to school with most…my mother still lives over here. This is home.” They talk about celebrities who are from the area.
24:44Copy video clip URL Cut to more footage from inside Robbins’s Barbershop. Camera records various clothing items for sale and ephemera on the walls.
26:41Copy video clip URL A young St. Joseph School student is seated in the barbershop. He is camera shy. Camera crew introduce themselves to the other patrons. A man named Greg talks about three generations of his family getting haircuts from George Robbins. Greg recently moved out of Cabrini.
27:20Copy video clip URL Greg talks about his getting his hair cut at Robbins since childhood. He brings his children in to get their haircut as well. He just moved out of Cabrini. He states that he found a cheaper place in a nicer neighborhood for his children (less gang problems). Greg states that he still works in Cabrini. His mother still lives in Cabrini as well.
29:27Copy video clip URL Man comments on accountability for residents: “We’re always running around here trying to blame somebody. Blame what? Who are there to blame? There’s a whole lot of people that suffer just from causes…you sold yourself out cause you didn’t try on your own two feet…blame somebody else for what when you ain’t never tried to do anything for yourself?…” They talk about the value of relocating. The man talks about Robbins’s contribution to the neighborhood and suggests the city should build him a new barbershop.
35:35Copy video clip URL Cut to a group of children in the barbershop. Moe speaks with his “son,” Mike, in late December. Mike gets $1.25 from him.
37:23Copy video clip URL Cut to State Senator Rickey Hendon at a town hall meeting ( 7/8/96): “They want you to be homeless, period…if they say eight buildings now, it’s going to be all of them tomorrow…”
39:13Copy video clip URL Cut to Marion Stamps mid-conversation: “We have forgotten…what it means to be an African woman. Y’all just want to be Negroes in America, but that ain’t enough no more…you have to understand you’re a nation within a nation. You want white folks to just govern you in a kind of way…Daley is the enemy. He is the commander and chief.” She talks about the DNC and the cooperation between Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and President Bill Clinton.
41:47Copy video clip URL Stamps: “We need to tell people that since this electoral process has not worked for us, we gonna take four years absence and sit back and figure out which political party really works in our best interest, or maybe we ought to talk about our own political party. We don’t have the guns to go out here and shoot these people. We don’t have the resources…we gotta work with what we got…We got the people, and we got our vote, we gotta hold it.”
42:40Copy video clip URL Stamps: “It’s nothing personal, it’s just a question of survival. And what you all need to understand–Congress no longer has any money for Section 8, so that is no option.” She says they have nowhere to go: “They have a right to determine who lives in their communities.” She notes that no one has ever moved out and been able to come back.
45:37Copy video clip URL Static.
45:40Copy video clip URL End of tape.