Hazel Johnson: Mother of Environmental Justice Exhibit at Woodson Regional Library

“Save Your Life From The Toxic Trap” brochure, circa 1987
Brochure published by People for Community Recovery. Source: People for Community Recovery Archives, box 5, folder 10. Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.

Hazel Johnson: Mother of Environmental Justice is on display until March 31 in the lobby of Woodson Regional Library. This exhibit examines the legacy of Chicagoan Hazel Johnson, an environmental activist who founded People for Community Recovery. 

People for Community Recovery is a community organization in the Chicago Housing Authority's Altgeld Gardens on Chicago's far Southeast side. Founded in 1979, PCR demanded cleanup of toxic waste surrounding the community and pressed for repair work. Johnson became a national leader in the fight for environmental change. She advised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and urged President Clinton to sign his executive order on environmental justice. Her organization also coined the term "environmental racism."

This exhibit contains photographs, correspondence, flyers and articles (both original and reproductions) from the People for Community Recovery Archives housed in the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.

Social distancing and masks are required in the library at all times. 

Related Events

  • Environmental Justice in Chicago: A Panel Discussion
    6 p.m. Tuesday, February 16
    Hear from People for Community Recovery, Southeast Environmental Task Force and Little Village Environmental Justice Organization in a panel-style discussion about Chicago's environmental challenges and triumphs.
  • The Legacy of Hazel Johnson
    2 p.m. Saturday, March 27
    Cheryl Johnson speaks about her mother's life and legacy. Her stories will be accompanied by archival photographs and manuscripts from the People for Community Recovery Archives.