WBEZ | civil rights http://www.wbez.org/tags/civil-rights Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Emanuel: Ramsey Doesn't Want Police Commissioner Job http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-ramsey-doesnt-want-police-commissioner-job-114613 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_742326828917_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; Mayor Rahm Emanuel is making it sound like former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey would be a perfect choice to be&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;next police commissioner, but says Ramsey isn&#39;t interested.</p><p>Emanuel&#39;s office announced Sunday that Ramsey will advise the department through &quot;civil rights reforms&quot; the mayor called for after the release of a video of a white police officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald.</p><p>That fueled speculation Ramsey &mdash; who spent 30 years on&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;police force before heading departments in Washington. D.C. and Philadelphia&mdash; will succeed the fired Garry McCarthy.</p><p>On Monday, Emanuel praised Ramsey as a nationally recognized law enforcement leader who remains widely trusted within&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;police force. But he said the job is too important to offer it to someone who doesn&#39;t want it.</p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-ramsey-doesnt-want-police-commissioner-job-114613 National Leader on Community Policing to Advise Chicago Police http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-25/national-leader-community-policing-advise-chicago-police-114597 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/0125_charles-ramsey-624x415.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Charles Ramsey has been tapped by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to advise the city&rsquo;s police department on civil rights issues.</p><p>Ramsey is a Chicago native and recently retired as commissioner of Philadelphia&rsquo;s police force. He previously led Washington D.C.&rsquo;s police department and most recently was appointed by President Obama to chair the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing.</p><p>WBEZ reporter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">Chip Mitchell&nbsp;</a>tells&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2016/01/25/charles-ramsey-chicago-policing"><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em></a> Jeremy Hobson on what Ramsey might bring to the table.</p><p><strong>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/03/05/policing-ferguson-ramsey" target="_blank">Hear our March 2015 interview with Charles Ramsey</a></strong></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 13:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-25/national-leader-community-policing-advise-chicago-police-114597 Training Teaches Schools and Parents How to Talk About Transgender Issues http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Trans Training-phs.d211.org_.png" alt="" /><p><div>This is the first week that a transgender student in Palatine will have access to the girls&rsquo; locker room. This comes after the U.S. Department of Education&#39;s Office for Civil Rights ruled the school in District 211 had violated Title IX by banning the student from the locker room.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, the district is taking a step beyond increased access. They&rsquo;re training staff and administrators with the tools of inclusion for gender non-conforming students.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jennifer Leininger from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital leads this and other trainings in schools.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender How Film and Media Stereotypes Affect the African-American Experience http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-15/how-film-and-media-stereotypes-affect-african-american-experience <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/12%20years%20good%20good.jpeg" title="Lupita Nyong'o in a scene from the motion picture, ’12 Years a Slave’. For her performance, Nyong'o won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. (Entertainment One)" /><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/242572058&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">How Film and Media Stereotypes Affect the African-American Experience</span></strong></p><p>For Black women, combating negative cultural and media imagery has been an uphill climb. For <em>Worldview&rsquo;s</em> occasional series, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/images-movies-and-race"><em>Images Movies and Race</em></a>, we reflect on this Martin Luther King Day with a look back to a compelling and award&ndash;winning 2010 conversation on racial imagery in American media and film. Richard Steele will talk with Brenda Verner, an historian, media analyst and Chicagoan, about historic representations of Black women AND men in American culture and how it&rsquo;s affected the African-American experience. From her childhood in Altgeld Gardens - through her studies at Cornell and Harvard - to being a national writer and speaker &ndash; Verner says she&rsquo;s dedicated her life to &ldquo;informing and empowering&rdquo; African-Americans.</p><p><strong>GUESTS:&nbsp;</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/real-deal-best-wbezs-richard-steele-according-his-colleagues-110914">Richard Steele</a> is a host/producer for WBEZ and Vocalo</p><p>Brenda Verner is an historian and media analyst</p><p><em><strong>This conversation won a <a href="http://www.nabj.org/?STERADIO2011">2011</a> National Association of Black Journalists &#39;Radio Excellence Award&#39;</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 18 Jan 2016 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-15/how-film-and-media-stereotypes-affect-african-american-experience The History of the Chicago Defender http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-13/brief-history-chicago-defender-114468 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/defenderHoughtonMifflinHarcourt.jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="(The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America, cover)" />The Chicago Defender has been around for a long time--since 1905.</p><p>And it&rsquo;s always been more than a newspaper. It was a voice for the voiceless, a lamp that shed light on Jim Crow, and a catalyst for the Great Migration. It motivated and inspired Black Americans to embrace and focus their political and electoral power.</p><p>Author, publisher and journalist Ethan Michaeli dives deep into the paper&rsquo;s history in his new book &#39;The Defender: How The Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America.&#39; He shares some of his favorite moments from the Defender&rsquo;s 110 years.</p></p> Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-13/brief-history-chicago-defender-114468 Governor Pence Lays Out Top Five Priorities for Indiana http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-13/governor-pence-lays-out-top-five-priorities-indiana-114467 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/indiana-flickr-House GOP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A couple hours before President Obama&rsquo;s State of the Union address, Indiana&rsquo;s Governor, Republican Mike Pence, delivered his state of the state address in Indianapolis.</p><p>Pence was clear about his top five priorities: Schools, roads, confronting drug abuse, and jobs and the economy.</p><p>Toward the end of the speech, Pence made a turn and stepped right back in the controversy over religious freedom in Indiana and what that could mean over the fight for civil rights for gay and lesbian Hoosiers. WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter, Michael Puente joins us to sort it all out.</p></p> Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-13/governor-pence-lays-out-top-five-priorities-indiana-114467 With Chicago Police Investigation, Advocates Ask, What Took So Long? http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-investigation-advocates-ask-what-took-so-long-114106 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-83451148-1-_custom-71cf42eacb38321248c112479f3975b99101fb4a-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: This report contains graphic descriptions of torture.</em></p><p>The Chicago Police Department is the latest force in the national spotlight for a controversial shooting of a young black man, but the issues raised by recently released videos showing police shootings are not new in Chicago.</p><p>The incidents, critics say, are evidence of what they call a long history of Chicago police using excessive force on minorities in the city.</p><p>The day he was tortured is one that Darrell Cannon says will live with him until he takes his last breath: Nov. 2, 1983, and the torture came at the hands of three Chicago police detectives. They suspected Cannon in a murder, so they took him to an isolated area on Chicago&#39;s South Side and played Russian roulette.</p><p>&quot;They took a shotgun while my hands was cuffed behind my back, and while I was standing out there, one of the detectives told me and I quote, &#39;N*****, look around. Nobody&#39;s gonna see or hear anything we do to you today,&#39; &quot; Cannon says.</p><p>Cannon says one detective put the barrel of the gun in his mouth, and he heard three clicks of the trigger. The last, he says, made his hair stand on end. Cannon says the detectives later made him lie in the back of a police car.</p><p>&quot;They pulled my pants and shorts down, they took an electric cattle prod,&quot; he told a Chicago City Council committee earlier this year. He needed a minute to collect himself and continued. &quot;He took electric cattle prod and he turned it on and he stuck me on my genitals with that cattle prod. I had never in my life experienced that kind of pain.&quot;</p><p>Cannon was tortured into confessing to a crime he didn&#39;t commit and was sentenced to life in prison before being exonerated in 2004. Throughout the 1970s and into the early 1990s, hundreds of black men were tortured by Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge and the detectives under his command.</p><p>Though he was fired, Burge was never charged criminally until convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying about the torture under oath in 2010.</p><p>Earlier this year, the Chicago City Council approved reparations payments to Cannon and other victims of torture.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;ve been living with this epidemic of excessive force in Chicago for decades; maybe some of us are numbed to it,&quot; says Andy Shaw, a veteran Chicago journalist who now heads up the watchdog organization, the Better Government Association. &quot;The sad reality is that no one has ever confronted it head on.&quot;</p><p>What recent BGA investigations have found are, in Shaw&#39;s words, shocking and shameful.</p><p>&quot;Chicago taxpayers have spent more than&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bettergov.org/news/beyond-burge">half a billion dollars&nbsp;</a>on excessive force cases over a decade. Chicago police have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bettergov.org/news/fatal-shootings-by-chicago-police-tops-among-biggest-us-cities">shot more people dead&nbsp;</a>over a five-year period than any other big city, and we have the smallest rate of police officers accused of misconduct who are actually charged by an independent review board,&quot; he says.</p><p>Shaw and others in Chicago are not surprised the Justice Department is opening a civil rights investigation into the police department. Instead they ask, what took so long?</p><p>&quot;I think that the culture of police violence and cover-up and code of silence hasn&#39;t changed in the 45 or 46 years,&quot; says Flint Taylor of the People&#39;s Law Office has represented victims of excessive force since the police killings of Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in 1969.</p><p>Still, not everyone believes there is a systemic problem in Chicago&#39;s police department. Alderman Ed Burke is a former police officer and powerful chairman of the City Council&#39;s finance committee, which has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in payouts to victims of police misconduct. Under questioning from reporters, Burke said he doesn&#39;t see the need for a federal civil rights investigation.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s no institutional problem,&quot; he says. &quot;Will there be individual officers who will make mistakes? Absolutely.&quot;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel, on the other hand, welcomes the Justice Department investigation and acknowledges the city needs it.</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/08/458926584/with-chicago-police-investigation-advocates-ask-what-took-so-long">NPR News</a></em></p></p> Wed, 09 Dec 2015 08:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-investigation-advocates-ask-what-took-so-long-114106 Transgender rights movement: a week of wins and losses http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-06/transgender-rights-movement-week-wins-and-losses-113681 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95663"><img alt="In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, voters statewide can give themselves tax breaks, pump billions of dollars into roads and make hunting and fishing constitutional rights by supporting seven amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday's ballot. And Houston will choose a new mayor and decide whether to extend nondiscrimination protections to its gay and transgender residents in a referendum being watched nationally. (Pat Sullivan/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1106_transgender-houston-e1446822147828-624x410.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 620px;" title="In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston. (Pat Sullivan/AP)" /><p>It was two steps forward and one step back this week for transgender rights advocates. The<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633" target="_blank"> repeal of Houston&rsquo;s Equal Rights Ordinance</a> was a major setback for the movement. The opponents of the ordinance argued it would open the door for transgender men to attack women in bathrooms.</p></div><p>There was also good news for transgender advocates. Yesterday, the Reform Judaism movement issued a broad transgender rights policy, the strongest of any religious group.</p><p>And on Monday, the U.S. Department of Education ordered an Illinois high school to find a solution in the case of a transgender female student who was not allowed to participate in girls&rsquo; sports or shower in the girls&rsquo; locker room with other students.</p><p>Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, joinsHere &amp; Now&rsquo;s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the defeat in Houston and the strategy going&nbsp;forward.</p><p><em><strong>Report:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/national-transgender-discrimination-survey-full-report" target="_blank">Discrimination and violence faced by transgender people</a></strong></em></p></p> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 12:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-06/transgender-rights-movement-week-wins-and-losses-113681 In Houston, voters reject a closely watched equal rights ordinance http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law._0.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res454538477" previewtitle="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/04/gettyimages-455944188_custom-264b297cc0f8983448b18a4f5e239ec92e9da1c0-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Voters in Houston soundly rejected a closely watched ordinance that prohibited discrimination in city contracting, business services, housing and employment.</p></div></div></div><p><a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2015/11/03/houston-anti-discrimination-ordinance-early-voting/">As the Texas Tribune reports</a>, the measure became a flashpoint in a confrontation between the city&#39;s lesbian mayor and the city&#39;s conservatives.</p><p>Ultimately, opponents of the ordinance, which is<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-02/houston-residents-vote-anti-discrimination-ordinance-tomorrow" target="_blank"> known as HERO</a>, prevailed by a large margin. As the&nbsp;Tribune&nbsp;explains, opponents framed this issue as the &quot;bathroom ordinance,&quot; arguing that the &quot;ordinance&#39;s gender identity protection would allow sexual predators to enter women&#39;s bathrooms.&quot;</p><p>The&nbsp;Tribune&nbsp;adds:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Ahead of Tuesday&#39;s vote, Republican state leaders, including Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/greg-abbott/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/greg-abbott/">Greg Abbott</a>&nbsp;and Lt. Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/dan-patrick/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/dan-patrick/">Dan Patrick</a>, cited the bathroom arguments in lending their political muscle to the campaign opposing the ordinance. On Tuesday, Patrick attributed the defeat of the &#39;misguided&#39; ordinance to voters standing up to &#39;pandering to political correctness.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;&#39;The voters clearly understand that this proposition was never about equality &ndash; that is already the law,&#39; Patrick said. &#39;It was about allowing men to enter women&#39;s restrooms and locker rooms &mdash; defying common sense and common decency.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Supporters of the ordinance called the strategy fear-mongering and hoped for a win even after early voting figures showed the ordinance behind by a wide margin.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/us/houston-voters-repeal-anti-bias-measure.html?_r=0">The New York Times reports</a>&nbsp;that the ordinance is actually very similar to anti-discrimination laws passed in 200 other cities.</p><p>The ACLU&#39;s National Political Director Karin Johanson said Houston was the only major American city that had not passed a law &quot;protecting its residents from discrimination.&quot;</p><p>Of course,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/03/454249137/election-day-what-were-watching">many other states and cities held elections</a>, yesterday. Here are a couple of other headlines:</p><p>&mdash; Ohio voters overwhelmingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/public/2015/election/ohio-state-issues-2-and-3-marijuana.html">rejected plans to legalize pot</a>&nbsp;for recreational and medical use.</p><p>&mdash; In Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/11/03/republican-matt-bevin-elected-governor-kentucky-2nd-republican-governor-in-4/">won the governor&#39;s race</a>. Lt. Gov.-elect Jenean Hampton will become the first black person to hold statewide office in Kentucky.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/04/454525766/in-houston-voters-reject-a-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance?ft=nprml&amp;f=" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633 When Frank went to Gary http://www.wbez.org/news/when-frank-went-gary-113579 <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/GS2-Screaming%20students.jpg" style="height: 496px; width: 620px;" title="An integrated audience of thousands welcome Frank Sinatra, November 1, 1945 (Calumet Regional Archives)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div>The promise of jobs and prosperity lured thousands to Gary, Indiana, especially after World War II. The steel mills attracted immigrants from Europe and blacks from the South. Gary was also piloting a progressive education model, which included Froebel, an integrated K-12 school.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ronald Cohen is a Gary historian and author of <em>Children of the Mill: Schooling and Society in Gary, Indiana: 1906-1960</em>. There was racial tension across the country after the war, and in Gary, Cohen noted, a fear of white residents rioting against black residents was prevalent.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Gary was a segregated city, so most schools were in completely white neighborhoods,&rdquo; explained Cohen. &ldquo;So Froebel happened to be in the middle of the largest integrated neighborhood, an area called &lsquo;The Patch&rsquo; and that was the rougher part of the city.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>William Hill will turn 90 in December; he said he remembers things were tense when his family first moved to Gary from Memphis.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It was a bad time,&rdquo; said Hill.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hill described Gary in the &lsquo;40s as a thriving but flawed metropolis. Froebel was the only integrated school in the entire city -- but Hill still experienced discrimination.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We couldn&rsquo;t swim in the pool. We could not take part in the prom. Caucasians would go down to the Hotel Gary. Beautiful surroundings. We had to have our proms in the girls gym,&rdquo; he recalled.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hill said he was relieved when his family eventually moved across town and he was able to attend Roosevelt, an all-black school.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In September of 1945, a group of white Froebel students, led by Leonard Lavenda, organized a walk out. They wanted all the school&rsquo;s black students -- and its principal -- gone. When Cohen interviewed Lavenda in 1982 for his book, Lavenda insisted the walkout wasn&rsquo;t about race. He said it was about equality.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We wanted equality with Thomaston, Emerson, Horace Mann (school). &nbsp;Yes, take them (African American students) out,&rdquo; said Lavenda. &ldquo;We wanted to be equal with them. They (the Gary school board) said, &lsquo;no we can&rsquo;t do that.&rsquo;&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A third of the students at Froebel were black. Lucille Bobo (nee Gause) said she was known for her school spirit: She was on the honor roll, was moved up two grades and rarely missed a chance to cheer at ballgame. When she heard the white students were walking out, at first, her feelings were hurt to think people would have feelings of dislike or hatred toward her.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GS4-LucilleBobo.JPG" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Lucille Bobo says she rarely missed a ballgame, cheering from the bleachers. (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div><div>&ldquo;All I knew is that he lead a march out of the school,&rdquo; said Bobo. &ldquo;But why would he march against me? I didn&rsquo;t do anything to him. I didn&rsquo;t even know him.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The school board rejected the call to have the black students removed, but it took a couple of weeks to consider the white students&rsquo; second demand, to fire the principal. &nbsp;When it decided to reinstate him, the white students switched their demand and Lavenda organized another walkout, as Cohen recalled.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;They said, &lsquo;OK, we understand that you&rsquo;re not going to remove the black students. However, if we&rsquo;re integrated, that all the schools, near a black residential population, they be integrated as well&rsquo;&rdquo; Cohen recounted. Practically speaking, they proposed changing the school boundaries so that black students would attend other schools in Gary, not just Froebel.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The second walkout made national news: It got Frank Sinatra&rsquo;s attention, who, in the &lsquo;40s, was a star on the stage, screen and radio. Sinatra was also an outspoken progressive.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 1945, Sinatra recorded the song &ldquo;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037792/" target="_blank">The House I Live In</a>,&rdquo; which talked about tolerance. When he heard about what was happening in Gary, he wanted to perform it at the Memorial Auditorium.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="415" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/woZVlroHqPU?rel=0" width="540"></iframe></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div>The special concert was held on Thursday November 1st of that year. Hill remembered the day being a holiday of sorts, kids had the day off from school so they could see the show. Thousands packed the Memorial Auditorium as Sinatra sang and gave a speech about acceptance to the multi-racial crowd. He urged the white students to go back to school and end the strike.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lavenda didn&rsquo;t attend the concert. He told Cohen that Sinatra came to his house to plead him to end the strike.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The thing with Sinatra was he thought he could come over and sign a song and say, &lsquo;Go back to school, go back to school,&rsquo;&rdquo; Lavenda remembered. &ldquo;He may have meant well. But we had problems here; you&rsquo;re entertaining people you don&rsquo;t know what&#39;s going on here.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GS1-Frank%20Sinatra.jpg" style="height: 786px; width: 620px;" title=" Frank Sinatra entertains thousands at Gary’s Memorial Auditorium, November 1, 1945. (Calumet Regional Archives)" /></div><div>Sinatra failed to end the walk out -- but days later, the school board did when it threatened to expel the striking students. The following year, the board wound up implementing the white students&rsquo; second plan, of course, not in the spirit the students intended.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>By 1947, all Gary schools were integrated -- yet the city remained largely segregated. The population began to shrink in the 1960s, with layoffs at the steel mills and white flight. Lavenda has since passed away; Cohen said that when he interviewed Lavenda in 1982, Lavenda told him, he wasn&rsquo;t a racist.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;He lived in an integrated neighborhood,&rdquo; recalled Cohen. &ldquo;He thought it was an issue of fairness.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>William Hill still lives in Gary. And he says the Sinatra concert sparked a lifelong interest in Civil Rights.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;That instilled activism in me, from that time on,&rdquo; said Hill. &ldquo;I still do that now, even with this latest movement with Black Lives Matter. I&rsquo;m a part of that.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GS3-LucilleBoboHighSchool.JPG" style="height: 827px; width: 620px;" title="Lucille Bobo, maiden name nee Gause - is pictured in her 1949 Froebel High graduation photo. (Lucille Bobo)" /></div><div>Lucille Bobo stayed too. After graduating from Froebel in 1949, she spent four decades working as a secretary for the Lake County prosecutor&rsquo;s office. On any given Saturday, she can be found at a Gary flea market, selling clothes and donating the money to charity. Bobo beams when she talks about her high school memories. She never lost her school spirit, and she was recently reminded of that by a former classmate.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;One of them came here [to the flea market] this morning. George Revetta played basketball for Froebel,&rdquo; said Bobo. &ldquo;And he told people today that I made up a cheer &lsquo;Cheese, cheese, cheddar cheddar, nobody can beat George Revetta!&rsquo;&rdquo; she repeated with a smile.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the end, Sinatra&rsquo;s visit didn&rsquo;t have the intended effect. But the negative national exposure that came with it may have been the catalyst for integrating Gary schools.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews" target="_blank">@yolandanews</a>.&nbsp;</em></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 30 Oct 2015 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/when-frank-went-gary-113579