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Vincent Lane

Real estate executive and real estate developer Vincent Lane was born on March 29, 1942 in West Point, Mississippi to Doyle Lane and Bertha Lee. He grew up on the southside of Chicago and graduated from Tilden Technical High School in 1960. Lane earned his B.S. degree in business administration from Roosevelt University in 1968. After earning his undergraduate degree, he worked in the accounting departments of several companies including Mt. Sinai Hospital, International Harvester and U.S. Steel. Lane received his M.B.A degree from the University of Chicago in 1973.

After completing his education, Lane became senior vice president of the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation (WCDC). In 1976, Lane served as the president and general manager of Urban Services and Development, Inc. and LSM Venture Associates housing management companies. In 1988, Lane was appointed by managing director and chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). As chairman, he re-organized the CHA creating new programs such as the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department and Operation Clean Sweep. In 1991, Lane became president of American Community Housing Associates, Inc. Lane resigned from the CHA in 1995 after serving seven years as chairman. From 1997 to 2002, Lane served as president of Affordable Community Housing Advocate, LLC. In 2004, Lane became CFO of Woodlawn Community Development Corporation and since 2006, he has been a consultant responsible for the management of WCDC's real estate development program.

Lane has served on the boards of several organizations including the Corporation for Supportive Housing, National Historic Trust, Women's Treatment Center, Urban Land Institute and Roosevelt University. He received much recognition for his work in affordable housing development including the Regional Award for Minority Developer of the Year from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League and the Visionary Award from the Boys and Girls Club. Lane is married to Rita Denise Vargas and has three adult children Vincent, Steven and Craig.

Vincent Lane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 18, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.015

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/18/2012

Last Name

Lane

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Roosevelt University

University of Chicago

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

Robert S. Abbott Elementary School

First Name

Vincent

Birth City, State, Country

West Point

HM ID

LAN07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/29/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Greens (Turnip)

Short Description

Real estate executive and real estate developer Vincent Lane (1942 - ) served as chairman of the Chicago Housing from 1988 and 1995. He has been president of the American Community Housing Associates, Inc. and CFO of the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation.

Employment

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

Urban Services and Development, INC

LSM Venture Associates

Chicago Housing Authority

Woodlawn Community Development Corporation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vincent Lane's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane recalls his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane reflects on the land his family owned in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about his mother and Mary Holmes School in West Point, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about his mother's feelings on race and his memories of visiting Mississippi in the summers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vincent Lane talks about the Bryan family in West Point, Mississippi and his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vincent Lane talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about his family church in West Point, Mississippi and his family's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about his family's businesses

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane describes about his earliest childhood memory, playing hooky from school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane lists about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about growing up near Bridgeport in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane recalls baseball at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about the Back of the Yards and Bronzeville neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about urban renewal and Chicago, Illinois' State Street Corridor

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about his recollections of black political power in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about his high school interest in engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane recalls working at Immigration and Naturalization Service while attending the University of Illinois at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane comments on changes in public housing policy and residents in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane recalls life on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane recalls life on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane recalls his decision to major in accounting at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about his work during college and starting a small business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about black businessmen in Chicago including HistoryMaker Lester McKeever

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about his jobs after graduating from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about his work at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about being unable to advance while working at International Harvester

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane recalls the 1968 riots in Chicago, Illinois following the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane recalls Mount Sinai Hospital's role in responding to the 1968 riots on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about working at Tuesday magazine, and later The Woodlawn Organization

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about working for The Woodlawn Organization

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about intentional fires in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois and The Woodlawn Organization

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about black neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about his mother's bar on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about The Woodlawn Organization's relationship to the University of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about gentrification in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane comments on the demolition of public housing high rises and the administration of housing vouchers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane recalls earning his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and starting Urban Services and Development, Inc. and LSM Venture Associates

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about multi-family housing units he developed

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about project-based section 8 housing

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about how Seventh Day Adventists were involved in his development projects

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about how he was able to finance his development projects

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about HistoryMaker Renault Robinson and getting involved with the Metropolitan Planning Council

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane comments on flaws he saw with public housing policy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about the effects of the Brooke Amendment and the Chicago Housing Authority's neglect of public housing residents

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about changes he made as chair of the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about the lack of policing in public housing in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane describes how he set up a police force for the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about the origins of Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane gives an outline of how he conducted Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about the objectives of Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about how residents reacted to the presence of those conducting Operation Clean Sweep after the first raid

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about changes in Chicago public housing after Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Vincent Lane offers justifications for Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about the flow of federal money to the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about HistoryMaker Renault Robinson and former Chicago Housing Authority Police Commander Leroy O'Shield

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane describes the composition of Chicago public housing and taking his tactics to other cities

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about reductions in the murder rate in Chicago public housing after Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about Hope VI and his efforts to reconfigure public housing

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane comments on problems he sees with development requirements set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about the American Community Housing Association

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane recalls leaving the Chicago Housing Authority in 1995

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about events of 1994 and his decision to resign from Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about the circumstances that led to his indictment in 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about the toll of being indicted and convicted

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane reflects upon his career in public housing

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about reducing the staff of Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about his future plans

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane explains how he became chairman of Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about the people who represented the interests of Chicago Housing Authority residents during his tenure as chairman of the CHA

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane considers what he would have done differently in his career

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about his family

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$7

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Vincent Lane talks about urban renewal and Chicago, Illinois' State Street Corridor
Vincent Lane talks about the origins of Operation Clean Sweep
Transcript
Okay, okay, now, did you have a--did you like to play sports when you were growing up?$$Yeah, I played little league baseball. We played at the field across, right around Federal Street. The old Armour Institute [of Technology, Chicago, Illinois]. It's still there. It's an old, dark red building. And it was--it's still, I think, part of IIT [Illinois Institute of Technology, Chciago, Illinois], but they had a huge field there. And we would play our little league games at that location. And, of course, it's not there anymore because Mayor [Richard J.] Daley and President [Dwight D.] Eisenhower hooked up the Dan Ryan to the Interstate [Highway] System. And that's when this big urban renewal program took effect.$$Now, this is something that's really important, and it would be important to everybody, but especially to you with your future, you know, career being, you know, so closely aligned with the Chicago Housing [Authority] and all that. What did you think when you--what are your reflections of urban renewal and the redevelopment of that whole State Street corridor from being what they used to call the Black Belt with the tenements to housing projects?$$Well, it--$$You actually were here to see all of it, right?$$I actually was here to see all of it. Of course, my mother [Bertha Spraggins Lane] and father [Doyle Lane] were not political at all. I mean they just were working and trying to, living over the drugstore at 37th. And my mother worked occasionally. Of course, my father worked every day. But I remember during a period right after the war, I mean World War II [WWII], that we were, the country was involved in some tough times. And I had to--and my brothers, had to go to 35th and State Street, just north of 35th Street to get this potatoes, you know, like out of the box or bag at that time, butter, eggs. And so I remember the lines up there, people going to get these staples. Of course, you know, my parents had money and worked, but, you know, it was--I think the government just gave it to you. And that stretch, State Street and Wabash and Wentworth and Princeton, these old buildings--now, they had already torn down a lot of the tenements to build Wentworth Gardens. But in that block where I lived on the corner, and going South to White Sox Park, a lot of old, old buildings, apartment buildings, cold-water flats. I thought that--I was envious of the people who lived in Wentworth Gardens at the time because they had, you know, the steam heat from the piping that's run under Wentworth Gardens. They had bedrooms upstairs and they got yards. And, you know, my second-story flat, we would get together and, no grass, anywhere. And the pool hall on the other side of the building, the drugstore, and then we had the pool hall (laughter). And it was right over our apartment, so I was--always, something going on at the pool hall. And we would go into the back, and we would hang up a bushel basket, and we would play basketball and, or we would go a block away and play at the playground over at [Robert S.] Abbott [Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois], football and baseball over at Armour Square. So it was, it was that, almost end of the tenement, the real gutsy 1920s tenement era. But we still had a lot of buildings that were run down. That building that I lived in never had central heat, never until--and it never did have it because once they did start acquiring the tract for the Dan Ryan, all of that went down.$There's a step before the police department that I wanted to mention too, and that was the Operation Clean Sweep?$$Yeah.$$Now, what was--how did that come about and what was it?$$Well, in, I think within a month of my becoming chairman of the [Chicago] Housing Authority [CHA]--$$This was '88 [1988], yeah.$$In '88 [1988], I got a call one day from Nancy Jefferson who was a community activist on the West Side.$$She's probably one of the revered community activists in the city. She's almost sainted by people, Nancy Jefferson.$$I developed a close relationship with Nancy, and she said--and I didn't know at that time well. I knew of her, but she says, "Vince, you've just gotta do something. The gangbangers just burned, severely burned a little girl in Rockwell Gardens." And, of course, you know, I was full of energy and vigor to take on this. And so I got over to Rockwell Gardens, and sure enough, the gangbangers were trying to torch somebody's apartment that they had a grudge against. And he, they picked the wrong apartment. And they firebombed the apartment where this little girl was severely burned. And that really just set me off. I just, I said, how can we think about fixing the elevators and fixing sinks if, you know, employees are being terrorized, residents are being terrorized. Something has to happen. And so I don't know what. I just said, we probably--I was thinking about a war, one of these war movies, taking a hill in Korea, you know. And I said, what they do, the soldiers do is, when they wanna take a hill, they have to come with overwhelming force. And they have to surround whoever is on that hill, and once they take the hill, they have to control the hill. They just can't walk away from it. And so we, I worked out with Leroy Martin that we would have surprise, what we called "sweeps" of selected high rises, and that first one was at Rockwell [Gardens]. And we would plan a major offensive with not only police and our, what we--all we had at that time was rent-a-cops, you know, security guards. And we would, unannounced, and I wouldn't tell Leroy Martin where we were going because I knew that if I told him, that some of the Chicago police hierarchy would pass on the information and we wouldn't have the effect that we needed.