Materials entirely in English.


Chicago Video Project recordings




Chicago Public Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, Woodson Regional library


4.75 Linear feet




The Chicago Video Project Recordings includes 235 “Mini-DV” tapes created for the production of “Telling Our Story” by the Chicago Video Project. “Telling Our Story” documents the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Plan for Transformation.” The tapes are a moving footage record of the redevelopment of public housing properties in Chicago, primarily at Cabrini Green and Stateway Gardens.

Cited Sources

American Idealist: The Story of Sargent Shriver. “About the Producer.” Accessed November 14, 2012. Chicago Video Project. “Home.” Accessed November 9, 2012.

Biographical Note

In 1990, The Chicago Video Project was founded in Chicago by Bruce Orenstein as a 501C-3 non-profit video production company. The project produces documentaries and public policy videos about social and economic issues for public television and non-profit public interest organizations. The Chicago Video Project’s mission statement is to, “bring the power of video to advocacy groups, community development organizations, labor unions, foundations, and others across the country working to promote social and economic justice.” Bruce Orenstein is executive director of Chicago Video Project and oversees its advocacy and organizing video projects.

In 2000, Chicago Housing Authority announced that 100,000 public housing residents were to be displaced through the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Plan for Transformation” project. Chicago Video Project was contacted by the Chicago Housing Authority to produce a moving footage record of the “Plan for Transformation” project and to develop and produce an educational film about the relocation process for public housing residents. In 2002, The Chicago Video Project applied for a grant to work on the Plan for Transformation project and received a MacArthur Foundation Grant in 2003 and extended in 2006. The film, titled “Telling Our Story,” intended to focus on the Chicago Housing Authority properties of Henry Horner Homes, Stateway Gardens, Cabrini Green, and Madden/Wells.

“Telling Our Story” was directed by Bill Glader and produced by Susan Rohrback and can be viewed in full on the Chicago Video Project’s web site at

Processing Information note

Processed by CLIR funded Black Metropolis Research Consortium “Color Curtain Processing Project.” By Emily Minehart and Beth Loch. November 9, 2012.


The collection is restricted due to an inability to view “Mini-DV” tapes on current equipment. Descriptive inventories of the material are included with the collection. Contact archivist for more information.

Scope and Contents note

The Chicago Video Project Recordings includes 235 “Mini-DV” tapes created by Chicago Video Project to document the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Plan for Transformation.” The film, “Telling Our Story,” used raw footage primarily from the properties at Cabrini Green and Stateway Gardens to document the redevelopment of public housing in Chicago. The tapes consist primarily of interviews of residents and Chicago Housing Authority personnel, as well as Housing and Urban Development staff and local politicians. The films also include tours of the public housing projects, footage and interviews of displaced residents, Stateway working group meetings, town hall meetings, and meetings with local politicians such as Toni Preckwinkle, then-Senator Barack Obama, and Senator Dick Durbin. Some interviews are recorded by WBEZ and including footage of meetings in Washington D.C. The tapes also cover the demolition of the public housing buildings as well as annual Stateway Community Day festivities.

The collection focuses closely on one resident in particular who was displaced from Stateway Gardens to the mixed-income housing at Park Boulevard; the resident viewed the “Plan for Transformation” as an opportunity to improve his standard of living. Also documented are the people connected to the “Plan for Transformation” as it unfolded downtown and in other parts of the city, such as Chicago Housing Authority Relocation Director Homer Gary.

The bulk of the tapes were filmed between 2003 and 2009. The collection is organized by a numbering system assigned by the Chicago Video Project. Two separate inventories of the collection are available for review. The “Original Chicago Video Project Inventory” contains the detailed inventory of the collection and was provided by Chicago Video Project when the collection was originally donated. Note that tapes 3-8 are missing from the collection but are described in the “Original Chicago Video Project Inventory.” Additionally, 26 tapes included in the donation were not included in the “Original Chicago Video Project Inventory.” A separate inventory for these tapes was created, “Additional Inventory.”

Preferred Citation note

When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Chicago Video Project recordings [Box #, Folder #], Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, Chicago Public Library.