> Marillac Social Center History

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A Shared Story: Marillac Social Center and East Garfield Park

From its very beginning, the Marillac Social Center has made an effort to serve all who wish to use it. Its ability to do so, however, has not always come easily. Located in one of the most underserved and underprivileged communities in Chicago, Marillac has met the challenges of its community because it has had its support. This is the shared story of this social center and those who have helped to make it great.

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Settling into a Settlement: The Origins of Marillac Social Center, 1914-1945

At the turn of the twentieth century, Chicago, like many cities across America, was faced with the immense problems caused by immigration, industrialization, and urbanization. To combat poverty and the seeds of discontent it sewed, settlement houses popped up throughout the city. One such settlement house was the Catholic Social Center, the precursor to the Marillac Social Center, which established a nursery, a kindergarten, an affordable lunch program, as well as many other programs for its working-class neighbors.

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“Something for the Whole Family”: The Marillac Social Center, 1946-1954

From the moment the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul got involved with the Center, they helped it grow its services, its programs, and its physical footprint. Indeed, between the years of 1946 and 1954, the Marillac Social Center experienced a transformation and began offering services/assistance to persons of all ages. Their efforts were particularly needed in this community as it was transitioning from a mixed income, ethnically and racially diverse one to a predominantly lower class and African American enclave. Marillac Social Center was there to help neighbors with this evolution.

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Reaching Out and Revolutionizing Race Relations, 1955-1964

Garfield Park continued to evolve into a racially and economically homogeneous community, and Marillac Social Center remained to help those most in need. The urban crisis had hit Garfield Park hard and Marillac was there to help out in any way it could, including expanding services to the new housing project in the area.

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Social Change, Social Justice?: An Era of Agitation, 1965-1980

The 1965 through 1980 was a turbulent time in Chicago as social justice issues dominated the lives of those who both served Marillac, as well as those who utilized its services. Marillac’s close ties to the African American community, however, helped it to thrive amid controversy. Marillac continued to improve upon their services and programs, while the community continued to support them.

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Expanding Programs on a Budget: Marillac 1980-2002

The 1965 through 1980 was a turbulent time in Chicago as social justice issues dominated the lives of those who both served Marillac, as well as those who utilized its services. Marillac’s close ties to the African American community, however, helped it to thrive amid controversy. Marillac continued to improve upon their services and programs, while the community continued to support them.

 
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  • Foglia Family & Youth Center
    2859 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60612
  • Marillac Social Center
    212 S. Francisco Ave. Chicago, IL 60612
  • St. Vincent de Paul Center
    2145 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614