WBEZ | civil rights http://www.wbez.org/tags/civil-rights Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Ferguson activists hope that momentum sparks a national movement http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-activists-hope-momentum-sparks-national-movement-111825 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ferguson-activists-getty_custom-9be109112ebd75dbb55f4093e1f9931ab8685b7b-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Ferguson activists march through downtown St. Louis during a protest last month. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)" /></div><p>Since August, several U.S cities have been at the center of protests about policing and race. Activists in Ferguson, Mo., demonstrated for months in the aftermath of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/11/25/366504599/protests-fires-follow-announcement-of-ferguson-grand-jurys-decision" target="_blank">shooting death of Michael Brown</a>, a black, unarmed 18-year-old killed by a white police officer last summer. They also have demanded resignations and pushed for new laws in what organizers say is the start of a national movement for justice.</p><p>On a crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon, about 100 people gathered at a school next door to Greater St. Mark Family Church in Ferguson. The church has been a gathering spot and safe haven for activists in the St. Louis region.</p><p>&quot;The responses that we&#39;ve seen over the last seven months wouldn&#39;t have happened without you actually being willing to be in the streets, without you being willing to be intentionally involved in movement-building,&quot; says 41-year-old Montague Simmons, head of the&nbsp;<a href="http://obs-stl.org/" target="_blank">Organization for Black Struggle</a>. It was one of the main groups coordinating protests in the aftermath of Brown&#39;s death.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s hard to reconcile the idea that in death, there is something being born out of it,&quot; he says. &quot;But they left him on the ground just long enough that his blood gave birth to something else, so that we can actually transform this predicament we find ourselves in.&quot;</p><p>The Organization for Black Struggle has been active in the area for several years, but other groups sprang up last summer, including the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dontshootstl.org/" target="_blank">Don&#39;t Shoot Coalition</a>, a collection of about 50 activist groups.</p><p>Co-chair Michael T. McPhearson says the coalition is working to keep a national spotlight on the issue of policing in communities of color. He acknowledges there are struggles regarding coordination, funding and internal disputes, but says there&#39;s a lesson to be learned from the movement of more than 50 years ago.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/corley-activists_custom-d361b0981a03a5950541a1566c947cc3fcc2b082-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 419px; width: 620px;" title="Activists gather at a school next door to the Greater St. Mark Family Church in Ferguson, Mo. for a meeting of what the Organization for Black Struggle was calling a 'People's Movement Assembly.' (Cheryl Corley/NPR)" /></div><p>Activist and hip-hop artist Tef Poe, co-founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.handsupunited.org/" target="_blank">Hands Up United</a>, says there are questions about persuading some street protesters to work with more structure.</p><p>&quot;For us, that is a struggle,&quot; he says. &quot;For the most part everyone is a rebel amongst rebels.&quot;</p><p>Still, Tef Poe says national coordination helped keep the movement going, including in New York City in the protests regarding the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man died after police used a chokehold on him during an arrest.</p><p>&quot;Police brutality &mdash; it&#39;s at the point now where it&#39;s too far gone in the black community,&quot; he says. &quot;It&nbsp;<em>has</em>&nbsp;to be addressed.&quot;</p><p>Brittany Ferrell, co-founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://millennialau.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Millennial Activists United</a>, says that while its important for activists to stay in the streets protesting, young people should also raise their voices in the traditional political arena. Ferrell points to the nearly all-white city leadership and police force in predominantly black Ferguson as a concern.</p><p>&quot;We need to be in positions of power and have a say in our spaces,&quot; she says.</p><p>Ferrell says she and other activists with her group have spoken at high schools and will work this summer to launch a political workshop series for young people &quot;to ready them potentially for running for candidates in their neighborhood, like aldermen and mayor, and what that means, and what your responsibilities would be and is this why you should do it,&quot; she says.</p><p>These activists say the national focus on policing &mdash; and the Department of Justice report&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/03/05/391041893/doj-report-condemns-ferguson-police-departments-practices" target="_blank">blasting Ferguson&#39;s police department</a>&nbsp;for widespread racial bias &mdash; has brought some change, resignations of top city officials and more minority candidates running for local office. They also say they plan to keep the momentum going to make certain their movement brings about lasting change.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 08:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-activists-hope-momentum-sparks-national-movement-111825 Remembering longtime civil rights activist Rev. Willie Barrow http://www.wbez.org/news/remembering-longtime-civil-rights-activist-rev-willie-barrow-111689 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/williebarrow.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>They called her &ldquo;Little Warrior.&rdquo;</p><p>Her 4-foot-11 frame could not contain her spirit.</p><p>&ldquo;A female I was born, a woman, I grew to be, a mother I&rsquo;m proud to be, a Christian I chose to be and a minister I was called to be. And with all them &lsquo;bes&rsquo; going from me, I can be anything I&rsquo;m big enough to be,&rdquo; Barrow used to tell her audiences.</p><p>Barrow was just a little girl, in a little town in Texas. It used to be, Barrow and other black children in the rural town of Burton, had to walk some 10 miles to get school--while their white classmates got a ride.</p><p>&ldquo;One morning I just got tired,&rdquo; Barrow told the <a href="http://visionaryproject.org/">National Visionary Leadership Project</a>. &ldquo;So I jumped on the back of the bus where the white kids were and they was, &lsquo;Oooooo, you can&rsquo;t do this,&rsquo; and they just start screaming. And one little girl says, &lsquo;yes she can ride...yes she can ride.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Barrow was just 12 years old at the time &mdash; she had no plan or agenda. And this was almost 20 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.</p><p>&ldquo;I said, &lsquo;y&rsquo;all can kill me if you wanna, but I said I&rsquo;m tired.&rsquo; I didn&rsquo;t know anything about civil rights, I didn&rsquo;t know anything about that...I was just tired,&rdquo; Barrow remembered.</p><p>And that&rsquo;s really how Rev. Barrow lived and led: Fair was fair, right was right. Color, gender, class...it didn&rsquo;t matter.</p><p>Barrow worked as a field organizer for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; she planned marches and demonstrations &mdash; arranged transportation and shelter.</p><p>In the 1960s, she and Rev. Jesse Jackson co-founded Operation Breadbasket &mdash; a precursor to the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Rainbow.PUSH">Rainbow PUSH Coalition</a>. She said Rev. Jackson articulated people&rsquo;s problems &mdash; she brought the muscle.</p><p>&ldquo;When Jesse would get through preaching or speaking, he would go in the back and talk with somebody,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Meantime, she and Rev. Dr. Calvin Morris would be out with the people, finding out about their problems.</p><p>&ldquo;The phone rings, Jesse gone to the airport but I gotta be there to answer that phone. But not just answer and say, &lsquo;he&rsquo;s not here,&rsquo; but to service those people,&rdquo; Barrow said.</p><p>When grocery stores in African-American neighborhoods in Chicago were stocked with higher-priced, lower-quality goods &mdash; she took action. Barrow and some other women drove around to the white grocery stores and out to the suburbs, surveying the prices &mdash; with facts in hand she helped organize boycotts, which led to better products and prices.</p><p>When her son Keith came out &mdash; she worked for gay rights.</p><p>And when he became infected with HIV and later died from AIDS in 1983, she said no one dared ask how he died &mdash; so she told them.</p><p>Barrow fought the fear around the epidemic with her humanity and humility. She fought for equitable health treatment. And her spirit enlivened a call for that cause as news of her passing spread.</p><p>Rainbow PUSH&rsquo;s Rev. Janette Wilson was joined by other faith leaders Thursday to renew calls for a trauma center on the city&rsquo;s South Side, where she says young people are dying in the streets.</p><p>&ldquo;Rev. Barrow would say, we cannot rest when our children and people who cannot fight for themselves &mdash; when their lives are at risk. She was a little warrior and she would be perhaps marching over to meet with somebody today,&rdquo; Wilson said.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Area Rev. Jeanette Wilson remembers Rev. Barrow on WBEZ&#39;s Morning Shift</strong></p></blockquote><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195540221&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>But Rev. Barrow had not been in good health recently. Last week, she was admitted to Jackson Park Hospital, where she was treated for a blood clot. After days in the ICU, she told those closest to her, including her pastor, Rev. Jerald January, that she wanted to be home when she entered her final season.</p><p>&ldquo;About two days ago, the nurse was telling me she wasn&rsquo;t really talking but she heard her yelling at somebody,&rdquo; January began. &ldquo;And she went in the room and it&rsquo;s like she was looking at somebody that no one else could see and she told them, &lsquo;Just wait a minute, I&rsquo;ll be there in a little while...&rsquo; Like she was telling heaven, &lsquo;Just wait one more day.&rsquo; And, that&rsquo;s what she had,&rdquo; he recalled.</p><p>January prays that her spirit is regenerated in others.</p><p>Veronica Morris-Moore is a member of <a href="http://www.stopchicago.org/p/fly.html">Fearless Leading by the Youth</a>; she&rsquo;s one of the young people calling for a South Side trauma center.</p><p>She said she never had the honor to meet Rev. Barrow but she&rsquo;d definitely heard of her and her work.</p><p>&ldquo;Women like that, particularly for me as a black woman, it&rsquo;s always an honor and a pleasure to know that those women exist. Because as a young person that gives me strong shoulders to stand on,&rdquo; said Morris-Moore.</p><p>Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow was 90 years old. She was indeed, a very small woman--but a giant in every other measure. &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 07:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/remembering-longtime-civil-rights-activist-rev-willie-barrow-111689 Morning Shift: Mega to mini churches http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-12/morning-shift-mega-mini-churches-111690 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Waiting%20for%20the%20Word.jpg" style="height: 606px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/Waiting for the Word" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195540221&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Remembering Rev. Willie Barrow</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Known as the &quot;Little Warrior,&quot; longtime Chicago Civil Rights leader Willie Barrow passed away Thursday morning at the age of 90. We remember her efforts with area Rev. Jeanette Wilson.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest: </strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Bio--94489584.html">Rev. Jeanette Wilson</a> is a Senior Advisor at <a href="http://rainbowpush.org/">The Rainbow PUSH Coalition.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195540215&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">JD McPherson and Elder</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We hear tunes from JD McPherson who plays Chicago&#39;s Lincoln Hall venue Thursday and Friday as well as Elder, who is on the bill at Reggie&#39;s Rock Club this weekend.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195540203&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Religion: Mega to mini churches</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Mega-churches have been in the news for awhile now. Across the nation and all over Chicago, there&rsquo;s a growing movement to make the big church experience more intimate. Huge mega-churches like Willow Creek are starting smaller satellite churches. And others are holding services in several locations. We have two pastors joining us today to talk this trend about why this trend got started, and how it&rsquo;s attracting Millennials and others who consider themselves to have &ldquo;no religion,&rdquo; AKA the famous nones.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/pastortreyhall">Pastor Trey Hall</a>&nbsp;is the founding pastor of&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/uvchurch">Urban Village Church</a> in Chicago.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/daveferguson">Pastor Dave Ferguson</a> is the founding and lead pastor of Chicago&#39;s Community Christian Church.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195540197&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">The soul jazz sounds of Lili K</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Chicago songstress Lili K. began performing in church and grade school and started writing her own music at the ripe old age of 10. She&rsquo;s worked with a few Chicago hip hop artists including Chance the Rapper, but she&rsquo;s also carved out her own sound that is best described jazzy and&nbsp; soulful. Lili K. draws inspiration from Ella Fitzgerald, Erykah Badu and Sharon Jones. While she has a reputation for quirky energetic performances&hellip;she also lays down the groove in the studio and her debut album Ruby, hits the street on April 21. She gives us a taste on the Morning Shift.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/LiliKjazz">Lili K</a>&nbsp;and her band.</em></p></p> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 07:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-12/morning-shift-mega-mini-churches-111690 Friends honor disabled brother's legacy http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/friends-honor-disabled-brothers-legacy-111510 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150206 Scott Nance Adam Ballard.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Scott Nance and Adam Ballard are part of a network of disability activists who frequently shut down intersections and grind business to a halt in order to draw attention to the needs of the disabled.</p><p>Nance and Ballard had volunteered separately to scope out the site of the group&rsquo;s next protest when they met.</p><p>Nance hadn&rsquo;t planned to be on the same bus as Ballard that day. But when the two friends interviewed at Access Living earlier this month for StoryCorps, they agreed it was a fitting place for their friendship to begin. Since then, the two have been arrested together for protesting for the rights of people living with disabilities.</p><p>Ballard uses a wheelchair and though he has been disabled his entire life, only sought out a community of other disabled people as an adult. That came after he had an accident that put him in a nursing home for several months.</p><p>Nance, on the other hand, was born with an audio disability, as were his brother and sister. But Nance&rsquo;s brother Devin also had physical, developmental, growth, learning and speech disabilities. For many years, Scott Nance acted as his brother&rsquo;s personal attendant. But then Devin died suddenly and tragically. &quot;That put me in a really dark place,&quot; Nance says. &quot;And I didn&#39;t crawl out of that hole until we did this march in front of the White House.&quot;</p><p>Nance was passing out flyers with other disability activists in Washington, DC, when he had a realization. A woman asked him why he was there and &quot;in that moment I had to challenge myself and think. And I gave her an honest answer. I&#39;m here for my brother.&rdquo;</p><p>&quot;He died at the age of 26,&quot; Nance says, of his brother Devin. &quot;And that&#39;s ridiculous that we live in a society where that still happens. He was someone who loved life. Loved playing catch. Loved going out in the community. He died alone and he never should have been in a position to die alone like that.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;I never met Devin,&rdquo; Ballard says. &ldquo;You entered my life after all that had gone down. But a couple years ago I think we were out drinking and it happened to be Devin&#39;s birthday so I offered a toast to your brother. And I said, &lsquo;Here&#39;s to your brother because if he&#39;s even halfway responsible for the man you are now then I&#39;m really sad that I didn&#39;t know him.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 09:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/friends-honor-disabled-brothers-legacy-111510 'I was not marching in the street, but I was marching in the business.' http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-was-not-marching-street-i-was-marching-business-111447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150123 Ron and Dave Sampson bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ron Sampson&rsquo;s story reads like a real-life episode of &ldquo;Mad Men.&rdquo;</p><p>In the 1950s and 1960s Sampson worked at advertising agencies that marketed all sorts of products, from fast food to cars. But Sampson is black and the agencies where he worked early in his career were almost all-white.</p><p>&ldquo;My mindset was to be professional but not give up my blackness,&rdquo; Sampson says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;I was not marching in the street, but I was marching in the business.&rdquo;</p><p>In December, Ron Sampson, 81, sat down with his son, Dave, 52, to talk about his career, and how the advertising industry has changed with respect to African-Americans.</p><p>Ron started his career at the same time the Civil Rights Movement was beginning, and he felt that many white executives were interested in understanding it better. &ldquo;Even if they wouldn&rsquo;t make a sale with me, they wanted to hear it. So I became a conduit for them to learn what black folks were about.&rdquo;</p><p>Ron&rsquo;s son, Dave, explains that back then, in marketing to African-Americans, many companies simply replaced white faces in advertisements with black ones. &ldquo;Particularly in print,&rdquo; Dave says, &ldquo;it was not written in a way that reflected who we were. The language was wrong, the situations were wrong. There was not much of a connection.&rdquo;</p><p>Ron says that when he started working at one agency in Chicago, the only other black person at the company was the shoeshine man. Yet Ron felt compelled to be in the agency world,&nbsp; &ldquo;to point out these things that people had no sensitivity to,&rdquo; Dave says.</p><p>In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. Ron remembers the day vividly.<br />&ldquo;The city went up in flames on the West Side,&rdquo; Ron says, &ldquo;and people ran like scared chickens out of the downtown area here in Chicago. I looked around and the whole agency was empty.&rdquo; Ron was disappointed that none of his colleagues had anything to say about how their clients should respond in the wake of the incident. He wrote a memo to the head of the agency and expressed his dismay. A week later, executives started coming in to see him. One-by-one they expressed their disappointment at the behavior of the company and talked about how they would begin to see things differently.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody who is advertising a product is in it to make money,&rdquo; Dave says. Over time, with the help of pioneers like Ron Sampson, companies learned that African-Americans &ldquo;aspire to many of the same things as white people but the language and culture to get there are different.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-was-not-marching-street-i-was-marching-business-111447 Colorado NAACP office vows vigilance after blast near office http://www.wbez.org/news/colorado-naacp-office-vows-vigilance-after-blast-near-office-111362 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/0107naacpbomb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>DENVER &mdash; Staff members at a Colorado NAACP office say they are waiting for more information before drawing conclusions about an explosion near their chapter, even as the FBI investigates whether the blast was domestic terrorism.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re standing vigilant and are trying not to let this disrupt anything,&quot; Colorado Springs NAACP volunteer Harry Leroy said Wednesday, a day after someone set off a homemade explosive device outside the group&#39;s building, about an hour south of Denver.</p><p>The FBI said it had not determined whether the nation&#39;s oldest civil rights organization was targeted.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re exploring any potential motive, and domestic terrorism is certainly one among many possibilities,&quot; Denver FBI spokeswoman Amy Sanders said.</p><p>An improvised explosive device was detonated about 11 a.m. Tuesday outside a barbershop that shares a building with the NAACP chapter, but a gasoline canister placed next to the device failed to ignite. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the low-slung building, which sits in a mostly residential neighborhood.</p><p>Speculation swept across social media about whether the explosion was a hate crime. Investigators have not ruled out any possibilities, and members of the FBI&#39;s Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating because of the explosion&#39;s proximity to the NAACP office, Sanders said.</p><p>Investigators apparently have few leads. They are looking for a person of interest &mdash; a balding white man in his 40s who might be driving a dirty pickup truck.</p><p>In a joint statement Thursday, local law enforcement and Colorado Springs NAACP President Henry Allen Jr. said the case was a high priority and that tips from the public provided the best hope of figuring out who was responsible.</p><p>&quot;Regardless of if this act is determined to be a bias motivated crime, the law enforcement community in El Paso County does not condone this or any act of violence,&quot; it said.</p><p>Both the office and the barbershop reopened Wednesday with little police presence.</p><p>Gene Southerland owns Mr. G&#39;s Hair Design Studios next door and was cutting a client&#39;s hair there when the explosion occurred. The blast was strong enough to knock items off the walls, but the quick police response was comforting, he said.</p><p>Southerland said the FBI had given him no information on its early findings but said he didn&#39;t believe the barbershop or its predominantly black clientele was targeted.</p><p>Leroy, the NAACP volunteer, said he believed there were surveillance cameras behind the building, but he did not know whether they captured anything of value.</p><p>Gregory Alan Johnson, who lives nearby, said he was unaware of any prior problems near the NAACP offices. Colorado Springs Lt. Catherine Buckley said the department found nothing concerning in any previous calls for service.</p><p>Those who heard the blast, including Southerland, said it sounded like a single, loud &quot;boom.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 11:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/colorado-naacp-office-vows-vigilance-after-blast-near-office-111362 Chicago civil rights film gets National Film Registry recognition http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-12/chicago-civil-rights-film-gets-national-film-registry-recognition-109435 <p><p dir="ltr">The year 2013 is ending on a high note for Chicago film. Cicero March, a short film documenting a historic local civil rights march, was selected by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry.</p><p dir="ltr">The library selects 25 films each year for the registry, and most tend to be significant theatrical productions. This year is no different, as the <a href="http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2013/13-216.html">big, popular films on the list</a> include Gilda, Pulp Fiction, The Magnificent Seven, and Judgement at Nuremberg.</p><p dir="ltr">But tucked among those titles was Cicero March -- a short independent documentary from the Chicago-based <a href="http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/collections/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/689">Film Group</a> that details a significant moment in the region&rsquo;s history.</p><p dir="ltr">On Sept. 4, 1966, Robert Lucas of the <a href="http://www.congressofracialequality.org/">Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)</a> led protestors on a march through Cicero, located on the city&rsquo;s western border and then racially segregated.</p><p dir="ltr">The march was supposed to be led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King had been in Chicago since January, and along with other activists, had faced many mobs in white communities such as Marquette Park.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/women%20watching.png" style="height: 258px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Cicero residents photograph a historic anti-segregation march through the Chicago suburb in 1966 (photo courtesy Chicago Film Archive)" />But in August of that year, a <a href="http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_chicago_campaign/">&ldquo;summit&rdquo; </a>was held between King, then Mayor Richard J. Daley, the city&rsquo;s housing authority, and various real estate interests. Out of that emerged an agreement on open housing.</div><p dir="ltr">CORE was based in Chicago and well-seasoned by its efforts against segregation in Chicago public schools. And CORE activist Lucas <a href="http://digital.wustl.edu/e/eii/eiiweb/luc5427.0872.098marc_record_interviewee_process.html">considered the housing agreement a sham</a> and decided to go ahead with the march.</p><p dir="ltr">Once again, protestors were confronted by angry residents who lined the route, shouting, swearing, and threatening violence.</p><p dir="ltr">But as the Film Group documented, the marchers, flanked by police and armed National Guardsmen, were not afraid to respond.</p><p dir="ltr">As helicopters hovered overhead, residents hurled taunts such as, &ldquo;You should have washed before coming here,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Hey, the Brookfield Zoo is that way!&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In response one of the marchers yells, &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t stop, just keep it coming, just keep coming, don&rsquo;t stop. You fat punk, I think I see what you&rsquo;re made of. You fat punk -- and your momma, too!&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cicero March is in the collection of the <a href="http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/">Chicago Film Archive</a> (CFA). [Disclosure: The writer is on the advisory board of the CFA.]</p><p dir="ltr">The original print was a well-worn circulating copy from the Chicago Public Library&rsquo;s collection of 16mm films. After contacting Mike Grey and William Cottle of the Film Group, the CFA raised money to restore one of its prints of the film.</p><p dir="ltr">Anne Wells, the CFA&rsquo;s collections manager, says this was the third year in which the organization submitted Cicero March to the Library of Congress for consideration.</p><p dir="ltr">She finds it incredible that the footage even exists.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They were the only news cameramen there,&rdquo; said Wells. &ldquo;So to the best of our knowledge, this is the only moving image footage of this civil rights march.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Wells thinks inclusion in the National Film Registry is a well-deserved nod to non-commercial Midwestern filmmaking, and recognition that this moment in history happened.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s ugly,&rdquo; said Wells. &ldquo;But you don&rsquo;t want to hide that past. It&rsquo;s a very emotional film, that this happened here.&rdquo;</p><p>All of the films selected for the National Film Registry have been deemed &ldquo;culturally, aesthetically or historically&rdquo; significant.</p><p><em><a class="underlined" href="http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author">Alison Cuddy </a> is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter </a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison"> Facebook </a> and <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a>. </em></p></p> Tue, 24 Dec 2013 09:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-12/chicago-civil-rights-film-gets-national-film-registry-recognition-109435 Legal framework for Syrian intervention and the global reach of "We Shall Overcome" http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-08-28/legal-framework-syrian-intervention-and-global-reach-we-shall-overcome <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP8808270329.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As the U.S. considers military action in Syria, we discuss the role of international law in justifying armed intervention. On Global Notes, we step outside U.S. borders to explore the reach of civil rights protest song &quot;We Shall Overcome.&quot;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107693700&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-the-legality-of-syrian-intervention-and/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-the-legality-of-syrian-intervention-and.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-the-legality-of-syrian-intervention-and" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Legal framework for Syrian intervention and the global reach of \"We Shall Overcome\"" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 11:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-08-28/legal-framework-syrian-intervention-and-global-reach-we-shall-overcome Long lost civil rights speech helped inspire King’s dream http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/long-lost-civil-rights-speech-helped-inspire-king%E2%80%99s-dream-108546 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Carey%20Quinn%20Chapel%20pic.jpg" title="A view from the pulpit at the 120-year old Quinn Chapel AME on South Wabash Avenue. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often visited the church to see pastor Archibald Carey, Jr. (WBEZ/Derek John)" />A few decades ago, on a steamy, summer day a black preacher spoke before an enormous crowd about a nation free from racial strife. &quot;We, Negro-Americans, sing with all loyal Americans: My country, &lsquo;tis of thee, sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims&rsquo; pride. From every mountainside, let freedom ring!&quot;<br /><br />&quot;That&rsquo;s exactly what we mean,&quot; continued the preacher as he built to a dramatic climax. &quot;From every mountainside, let freedom ring. Not only from the Green Mountains and the White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire; not only from the Catskills of New York; but from the Ozarks in Arkansas, from the Stone Mountain in Georgia, from the Great Smokies of Tennessee and from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia &mdash; let it ring.&quot;<br />&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Carey%20head%20shot%20%282%29.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Archibald J. Carey Jr. circa 1960. (courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)" />Pastor Archibald Carey, Jr. spoke these words in 1952 at the Republican National Convention in Chicago more than a decade before Martin Luther King, Jr.&rsquo;s appropriated them for his &#39;I Have a Dream&#39; speech. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, it&#39;s fascinating to finally hear how much the earlier speech to a raucous GOP convention helped inspire Dr. King.</p><p>Carey died in 1981 and for many years, his speech was thought to be lost to history &mdash; its mere existence known only to a handful of scholars. But WBEZ recently discovered the landmark 1952 civil rights speech on a 16 rpm, 7-inch <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Audograph">Gray Audograph</a> disc at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kan.</p><p>Now for the first time in 60 years, we can listen again to Carey&rsquo;s original speech &mdash; bold and brave for its time&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;&nbsp;including the famous crescendo at the end that directly inspired Dr. King.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107629862&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong>Here&#39;s the beginning of King&#39;s final passage in his &#39;I Have a Dream&#39; speech:</strong></p><p><em>&quot;This will be the day when all of God&#39;s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, &#39;My country, &#39;tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim&#39;s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.&#39; And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.&quot;</em></p><p><strong>Compare that to the earlier 1952 GOP convention speech by Archibald Carey:</strong></p><p><em>&quot;We, Negro Americans, sing with all loyal Americans: My country &#39;tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, Land of the Pilgrims&#39; pride From every mountainside Let freedom ring!</em>&nbsp;<em>That&#39;s exactly what we mean&nbsp;</em><em>&ndash;&nbsp;</em><em>from every mountainside, let freedom ring. Not only from the Green Mountains and White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire; not only from the Catskills of New York; but from the Ozarks in Arkansas, from the Stone Mountain in Georgia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Let it ring not only for the minorities of the United States, but for the disinherited of all the earth! May the Republican Party, under God, from every mountainside, LET FREEDOM RING!&quot;</em></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Why the 1952 Republican national convention?</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Carey was one of the few GOP office holders in Chicago, black or white, when the 1952 convention came to town and he was already known for his public speaking. While it may seem odd in hindsight that Carey gave the speech at a GOP convention, Vanderbilt University historian and Carey biographer <a href="http://as.vanderbilt.edu/history/bio/dennis-dickerson" target="_blank">Dennis C. Dickerson</a>&nbsp;reminds us that the times were very different then.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When push came to shove it was usually GOP votes that could be counted on for black civil rights,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Carey knew that and was trying to help the party re-brand itself as the party of Lincoln.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Dickerson continued, &quot;When he uses that poetry and prose he&rsquo;s speaking to more than just the GOP party. He&rsquo;s speaking to the nation at large that queries &#39;what do these black people want?&rsquo;&quot;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Carey&#39;s speech was widely commended and he received hundreds of telegrams from all over the country, including some promoting him to be Dwight D. Eisenhower&#39;s running mate. After the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket was elected Carey was appointed to several administration posts and became a delegate to the United Nations. When Barry Goldwater became the party&#39;s nominee in 1964, however, Carey made the decision to switch over to the Democrats.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>How did Carey&rsquo;s words end up in MLK Jr&rsquo;s &lsquo;I Have a Dream&rsquo; speech?</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Archibald%20Carey_130828_DJ.JPG" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="A photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr at the house of Chicago preacher Archibald Carey, Jr., on the left. According to Carey's niece the two developed a close relationship. (WBEZ/Derek John)" /></p><p dir="ltr">Although Carey delivered his address a full three years before the Montgomery bus boycott, it was only a matter of time before he and Dr. King crossed paths. Eventually the Georgia preacher found his way to Carey&rsquo;s church in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">The historic <a href="http://quinnchicago.org/" target="_blank">Quinn Chapel AME</a> still stands on South Wabash Avenue today and on a recent Sunday morning, some longtime members recalled Dr. King&rsquo;s visits fondly.</p><p dir="ltr">I remember two occasions that he was at Quinn Chapel,&rdquo; says Carolyn Dodd. &ldquo;I think the first one it was such a crowd here I was sitting in the balcony and I don&rsquo;t think I had to sit in the balcony but once or twice since that time.&rdquo; Ruth Dunham remembers when Dr. King came to Chicago to fight for open housing on the West Side. &ldquo;Rev. Carey was with him then,&rdquo; she recalled. &ldquo;They marched together, and you got a feeling they were very close, very close.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Close enough to share their speeches? Dennis C. Dickerson says we&rsquo;ll probably never know.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have a letter saying &#39;Dear Martin, here&rsquo;s my speech. Good luck using it in your speech.&#39; But clearly we know they interacted many times and corresponded many times,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">This isn&rsquo;t the first time questions have been raised about Dr. King&rsquo;s source material (the most <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/11/us/boston-u-panel-finds-plagiarism-by-dr-king.html" target="_blank">glaring example</a> being his early doctoral dissertation). But Dickerson says in this case you have to understand the black church&rsquo;s oral traditions.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Let me put it like this. if one of my students did it [plagiarize], we&rsquo;d have a real problem,&rdquo; Dickerson said. &ldquo;But it is the custom among black clergy to hear a great sermon or a great speech and just say to the author I&rsquo;m using that. &ldquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><img 1952.="" a="" along="" alt="" and="" at="" back="" both="" cabinet="" carey="" class="image-original_image" comes="" convention="" derek="" did="" dir="ltr" does="" dorothy="" dr.="" drew="" e.="" else="" experiment="" experiment..and="" file="" first="" from="" got="" her="" history="" if="" in="" it="" king="" look="" m="" niece="" of="" on="" p="" patton="" remembers="" rhetorical="" runs="" s="" same="" says="" scientist="" scripture="" she="" simply="" somebody="" sort="" speech="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Carey%20niece%20pic.jpg" still="" style="height: 206px; width: 300px; float: right;" television="" the="" then="" there="" title="Dorothy E. Patton, Archibald Carey’s niece, is the only surviving family member who remembers her uncle’s speech. A retired scientist, she compares King's use of her uncle's oratory to the way researchers build on each other's experiments. (WBEZ/Derek John)" uncle="" watching="" wbez="" well="" with="" you="" /></p><p dir="ltr">Dorothy E. Patton, Carey&rsquo;s niece, still remembers watching her uncle&rsquo;s convention speech on television in 1952. Patton says both Carey and Dr. King drew from the same rhetorical well of scripture and history &mdash; her uncle simply got there first.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a scientist and if you look at the history of science,&rdquo; Patton says, &ldquo;somebody did the first experiment and it sort of got in the back of the file cabinet somewhere, and then somebody else comes along and runs with it.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s a nice thought: the elder Carey passing the baton to the younger King who carried it across the finish line in 1963. And why not? Dickerson, in his <a href="http://www.amazon.com/African-American-Preachers-Politics-Alexander/dp/1604734272" target="_blank">biography</a>, includes a letter from Carey with the following words.</p><p>&ldquo;When I need help,&rdquo; Carey wrote, &ldquo;I can count on Martin Luther King, and when he needs help he can count on me.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Special thanks to archivist Kathy Struss at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and WBEZ engineer Adam Yoffe.</em></p><p><em>Derek L. John is WBEZ&rsquo;s Community Bureaus Editor. Follow him at <a href="http://twitter.com/derekljohn" target="_blank">@DerekLJohn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 07:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/long-lost-civil-rights-speech-helped-inspire-king%E2%80%99s-dream-108546 Staple Singers' anthem a call for civil rights and reparations http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-08/staple-singers-anthem-call-civil-rights-and-reparations-108515 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2013-08-24 at 9.30.53 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>One of the more stirring and heartfelt songs from the civil rights era is <em>When Will We Be Paid</em>, by the Chicago soul and gospel group The Staple Singers.</p><p>In plainspoken but soulful terms Mavis Staples unpacks the backbone of American prosperity: black slave labor.</p><p><em>We worked this country<br />From shore to shore<br />Our women cooked all your food<br />And washed all your clothes<br />We picked cotton and laid the railroad steel<br />Worked our hands down to the bone at your lumber mill</em></p><p>The Staples released the song in 1970 on <em>We&rsquo;ll Get Over</em>, their second album on the Stax label. The great performance of the song above comes from the film <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0244807/">Soul to Soul</a>, which documents a 1971 concert in Ghana, featuring mostly American R&amp;B, soul and jazz performers.</p><p>The song itself <a href="http://blog.kexp.org/2010/02/17/kexp-documentaries-civil-rights-songs-%E2%80%93-when-will-we-be-paid-for-the-work-weve-done/">was inspired by a passage</a> in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr&rsquo;s <em>I Have a Dream Speech</em>, given at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which took place 50 years ago this month.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence they were signing a promissory note &hellip; a promise that all men, yes black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Despite those credentials, and the Staples&rsquo; role in the civil rights movement, <em>When Will We Be Paid</em> is not recalled alongside some of the other great anthems of the era, like <em>We Shall Overcome</em>, <em>Go Tell it on the Mountain</em>, and <em>People Get Ready</em>. And neither the song nor the album were a hit for the Staples.</p><p>I wonder if that&rsquo;s in part because the song can be read as an argument for what&rsquo;s proven a controversial topic: reparations. That idea has been around <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reparations_for_slavery_debate_in_the_United_States">since the end of the Civil War</a>, that direct descendants of slaves, either individually or as a group, deserve some kind of monetary compensation for the wrongs suffered by their ancestors.</p><p>Of course the meaning of <em>When Will We Be Paid</em> is also much broader. Following Dr. King&rsquo;s logic, the &ldquo;bad check&rdquo; is a metaphor for the failure to achieve full equality for blacks in America. And the Staples double down on notion by invoking &ldquo;women&rsquo;s work,&rdquo; arguing that equality will only be paid in full if it also extends to black women.</p><p>But the litany of abuses in <a href="http://contreinfo.info/article.php3?id_article=480">the lyrics</a>, the claim that &ldquo;Anytime we ask for pay or a loan/That&rsquo;s when everything seems to turn out wrong,&rdquo; the repeated refrain of &ldquo;When will we get paid/For the work we&rsquo;ve done&rdquo; suggests the song speaks not just of the political but the economic forms of redress required to make the check good.</p><p>If the Staples did have reparations in mind, they&rsquo;d be in good company, at least when it comes to Chicago and Illinois. Many of the more recent arguments for reparations have come from here, made by activists like <a href="http://www.ncobra.org/">N&rsquo;COBRA</a> and the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and by <a href="http://www.finalcall.com/national/reparations5-30-2000.htm">politicians like Dorothy Tillman</a>, Jan Schakowsky, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis. Reparations even came up as a <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/02/10/mayoral-candidates-spar-over-reparations/">topic for debate</a> in Chicago&rsquo;s last Mayoral election.</p><p>Davis was part of a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_National_Coalition_of_Blacks_for_Reparations_in_America">Congressional group</a> charged with studying the idea of reparations in 2001. He thinks there is something unique about Chicago&rsquo;s position on reparations.</p><p>&ldquo;Chicago sent the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_De_Priest">very first African American</a> to become a member of Congress after the period of Reconstruction,&rdquo; said Davis. &ldquo;Illinois has been the state that has elected two [African American] United State Senators. So Chicago has had a level of progression related to issue raising that many other places in the country have not experienced.&rdquo;</p><p>Though his own group came to naught in terms of serious discussion or recommendations, and never gained broader support from Congress, Davis doesn&rsquo;t think the issue has gone away.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think anyone can deny that slavery has had an adverse effect on many of its descendants,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;People whose relatives or foreparents were enslaved are still feeling the impact and are still being disadvantaged as a result.&rdquo;</p><p>But that is exactly what&rsquo;s proven so controversial about reparations: is payment required to repair that damage? And if so, how much, to whom, and why African Americans, and not other disadvantaged groups?</p><p>Davis thinks reparations don&rsquo;t have to mean paying people outright. He has in mind special incentives like education and training to lift people out of poverty, all of which he thinks can &ldquo;in a sense be called reparations.&rdquo; But reaching consensus on what those would look like has proven no less complex.</p><p>As for The Staple Singers, Davis say&rsquo;s he is a great fan of the group and has been since seeing them as a child in Crossett, Arkansas. To him, the song evokes a key claim for blacks, one that has yet to be fully answered.</p><p>&ldquo;The notion of when will we be paid, or when will we really reach the point when there is full citizenship, with no barriers, no prohibitions, with nothing that holds us back and reminds us of this previous condition of servitude, when will that happen -- if it will?&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-host of <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport#">Instagram</a></em></p></p> Sat, 24 Aug 2013 09:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-08/staple-singers-anthem-call-civil-rights-and-reparations-108515