South Deering gets its name from Charles Deering, a late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century executive at the Deering Harvester Company, which was located in the neighborhood. Jeffery Manor, meanwhile, is named after nearby Jeffery Boulevard and Merrionette Manor, which, according to the Chicago Public Library, were “developed by Robert Merrion as a result of the increased demand for housing after World War II.” 

A hundred years ago, these neighborhoods were industrial areas with a plethora of factories that attracted many European immigrants. Businesses like U.S. Steel, Ford, and the Federal Furnace Company sought out workers hungry for employment, which attracted many immigrants. As the Great Depression developed in the 1930s, many of these factories closed, leading to unemployment. Most of the residents were dependent on federal financial support, and the community began to adapt, becoming less industrial and more suburban. In the mid-twentieth century, more families began to move in and the racial makeup began to change from mostly European immigrants with industrial jobs to residents of all colors looking for safer communities. In the period of time this migration was happening, this did not receive a positive reaction from residents who were already settled in the community. During the sixties and seventies, like many South Side communities, South Deering was the victim of redlining and white flight. Although most former residents decided to relocate, there were a few white families who decided that they were comfortable with the influx of Black residents, and South Deering soon became a cauldron of mixed identities that was predominantly Black and Latinx. 

The community pushed for the neighborhood’s transition away from its industrial roots due to the negative environmental effects. More factories were abandoned, chemical plants shut down, and natural landscapes cultivated so that the community might be healthier for not only the homeowners, but for the many children and elders that lived in the neighborhoods as well. Between 2013 and 2016, under then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Plays! playground initiative, the community’s parks were revitalized and expanded, and new parks added. Community members continue to beautify the neighborhood through a driveway resurfacing project, not only removing stress from residents with vehicles, but also creating accessible travel for those that are disabled. The community has emphasized that their mission is for the neighborhood to be a safe, peaceful community in which residents can stay comfortably and children are not forced to shelter in their homes due to fear of the outside. In 2015, the neighborhood elected one of their own longtime community members, Greg Mitchell, as alderman, to maintain fair leadership and revive what this community once was.

Many who continued to live in these neighborhoods cultivated generational connections, as the children they raised in these homes eventually returned to settle and raise their own children—current residents hope for no interruption to this ritual. Many residents refer to the community as a community “for the children.” The parks are regularly filled with children, their sneakers stomping along the pavement as laughs and shouts of joy resonate throughout the neighborhood. Families routinely attend the community churches to strengthen their spiritual relationships. South Deering has always been inhabited by people who uphold the true meaning of community.

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