On June I, 1967, 12 college students and two Jesuit seminarians moved into two apartments in Lawndale, a black ghetto on Chicago's West Side. Their project was planned to last only for the summer. It resulted from the seminarians' previous part-time work in the area, and the students' desire to contribute actively to the solution of the human problems which result from two closely related forces-poverty and race. No one knew what form constructive assistance might take or even whether progress was possible. The urgency of the problems, not the evidence of solutions, was the driving force.
There were certain guidelines which the participants set out. The first was that there should be no preconceived ideas regarding what needed to be done. The participants felt these problems continued to exist because all too many people would just sit in offices or on college campuses and theorize about the ghetto's needs or, at the most, move in and impose solutions and programs on the community. They realized that all action must arise from the needs of the particular community involved.
John R. MacNamara
"The Contract Buyers League: A View from the Inside,"
Yale Review of Law and Social Action:
4, Article 7.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yrlsa/vol1/iss4/7