Built by the Chicago Department of Housing and Urban Development in the mid-forties for Black soldiers returning home from service in World War II, Altgeld Gardens is known for being one of the first public housing developments in the United States. It’s also recognized by many as the birthplace of the environmental justice movement.

Located on Chicago’s Southeast Side, the two-story brick housing complex is surrounded by the largest concentration of hazardous waste sites in the country, earning it the nickname the “toxic donut.” By the 1980s few of the industrial operations that spent decades using the area as a dumping ground remained, but the pollution they left behind devastated the community.