College Prep for Whom? The Changing Architecture of an African American School in a Gentrifying Community

Olivia Hatch


This study focuses on architectural transformations to Martin Luther King High
School as it transformed to Martin Luther King College Preparatory High School in a gentrified neighborhood on the south side of Chicago called North Kenwood. Gentrication is therenovation of low-income neighborhoods by middle-class individuals. Scholars argue that when a neighborhood undergoes gentrication, the schools are also renovated to reflect the new residents’ demands for quality education. is study also focuses on the school’s renovations between 1997 and 2002. In 1997, KHS was underperforming in attendance and test scores. In 1999 KHS was targeted for renovation and major changes in curriculum that would make it a selective enrollment college preparatory high school. I use data from eight in-depth interviews of students and sta to get their perspectives on King High School before the changes, King College Prep after the changes, the neighborhood during the dierent eras of the school, and how these changes aected sta and students. Utilizing Critical Race theory (CRT) and how it interconnects with the issue of class, I argue that King College PreparatoryHigh School’s renovations and curriculum changes served as a signal to more affluent African American families that the refurbished high school was of good quality.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Olivia Hatch

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