Real estate magnate Dempsey Travis dead at 89

Dempsey Travis, a stockyards worker’s son who rose to become a real estate magnate, civil rights activist and jazz musician, has died at age 89.

Dempsey Travis, a stockyards worker’s son who rose to become a real estate magnate, civil rights activist and jazz musician, has died at age 89.

The self-made millionaire died Thursday at his home, his family said.

As a South Side developer during the 1950s, Travis fought to increase mortgage availability for Blacks. He also helped bankroll the political career of his high school friend, Harold Washington, later Chicago’s first black mayor.

Travis graduated from Chicago’s DuSable High School in 1939 and served in a racially segregated Army unit during World War II, once being among several Black troops shot by a white MP.

After studying at Roosevelt University, Travis formed the first of his several real estate firms in 1949.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Moselynne.

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