WBEZ | civil rights http://www.wbez.org/tags/civil-rights Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Demonstrators demand Goodwill stop paying sub-minimum wages http://www.wbez.org/news/demonstrators-demand-goodwill-stop-paying-sub-minimum-wages-108210 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DAWWN wages 1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Over a hundred organizations in Illinois hold a license that allows them to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/labor-laws-allow-workers-disabilities-earn-less-minimum-wage-107389">legally pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage</a>. <a href="http://www.accessliving.org/index.php?tray=content&amp;tid=top683&amp;cid=2al73">Disabled Americans Want Work Now (DAWWN)</a> says it&rsquo;s unfair places like Goodwill can pay CEO&rsquo;s six-figure salaries, while disabled workers earn less than a dollar an hour.</p><p>DAWWN activists marched in front of a Chicago Goodwill store and office building and then entered the building to deliver a letter on Friday. Activists were met by Pat Boelter, Chief Marketing Officer Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin.</p><p>Boelter said all their Chicago locations pay above minimum wage, but she defends other Goodwills that don&rsquo;t. &ldquo;These are individuals who are not employable in the community. This is an opportunity for an individual with severe disabilities to feel like they belong,&rdquo; said Boelter.</p><p>DAWWN activist Susan Aarup said that pay is a matter of dignity. &nbsp;&ldquo;When they pay you less than a dollar an hour, they are telling you that you are worthless. We want honest pay for honest work.&rdquo;</p><p>Activist Rene Luna said disabled workers can do equal work when given the right accommodations and opportunities. He praised the <a href="http://www.progressillinois.com/news/content/2013/07/17/quinn-signs-law-boost-job-opportunities-people-disabilities">Employment First Act</a>, a bill which was signed into law earlier this month with the goal of boosting employment for workers with disabilities. &ldquo;In some ways there is a kind of revolution going on for us,&rdquo; said Luna.</p><p>DAWWN says it will continue to protest until wages change.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h&nbsp;</a></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 29 Jul 2013 10:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/demonstrators-demand-goodwill-stop-paying-sub-minimum-wages-108210 Illinois investigates Exxon for sexual orientation discrimination http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-investigates-exxon-sexual-orientation-discrimination-108007 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Exxon_sh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><a href="about:blank">The Illinois Department of Human Rights</a> is investigating one of the largest corporations in the country for alleged sexual orientation discrimination.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.freedomtowork.org/">Freedom to Work</a> brought the<a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5mOZEnJG6GOQnRLdmJ4X1BLMEk/edit"> discrimination charges</a> against <a href="http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/">Exxon Mobil </a>earlier this month. The national organization works against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace and says Exxon is the single worst offender of LGBT discrimination in the country.</p><p dir="ltr">The organization says it sent nearly identical resumes to Exxon. But one applicant had a higher GPA, longer work history, and volunteered with a gay organization in college. That applicant allegedly never got an interview, while the other applicant did.</p><p dir="ltr">Tico Almeida is the organization&#39;s founder. He says they did the discrimination test in dozens of states, but brought charges in Illinois because it has <a href="http://www.aclu.org/maps/non-discrimination-laws-state-state-information-map">some of the strongest sexual orientation protections in the country</a>. It outlawed sexual orientation discrimination in 2006 while Texas, where the organization also found evidence of discrimination, has no such law.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Exxon could actually put out a sign on their door in Texas that says gays not apply and that would be perfectly legal,&rdquo; Almeida said.</p><p dir="ltr">Freedom to Work hopes the case will help them push for federal sexual orientation protections. It&rsquo;s pressuring President Barrack Obama to sign an executive order banning corporations with discriminatory practices from federal contracts. It is also pushing to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), federal legislation that would provide protections against sexual orientation discrimination.</p><p dir="ltr">Exxon Mobil says they received the charges and are in the process of evaluating them in the context of their company&rsquo;s<a href="http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/careers_emplpolicies_harass.aspx"> policy.</a></p><p>The Illinois Department of Human Rights started the investigation today and says it will likely take a year.</p></p> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 20:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-investigates-exxon-sexual-orientation-discrimination-108007 Widening of Chicago's gun offender registry law raising civil rights issues http://www.wbez.org/news/widening-chicagos-gun-offender-registry-law-raising-civil-rights-issues-105989 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/guns 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Proposed changes to Chicago&rsquo;s gun offender registry law have raised some civil liberty issues.</p><p>The proposal widens the current law to include anyone who commits a violent crime with a firearm.</p><p>Supporters, like Alderman Ed Burke (14th), say that widening the net will help police and parents keep better tabs on gun offenders in their communities.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because new gun offenders under the revised law will be added to an online pool of current gun offenders that is accessible to the public.</p><p>Alderman Emma Mitts is on the public safety committee that passed the ordinance.</p><p>She wasn&rsquo;t included in the unanimous voice vote because she left the meeting early. Mitts said this would be a good tool for police, but worried about its impact on citizens.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure it would not be good for people of my color,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just another tool that&rsquo;s going to be used against them, especially minors.&rdquo;</p><p>Similar to Chicago&rsquo;s sex offender registry, Chicago residents can search for gun offenders in their neighborhoods by putting their address into a search box on the police department&#39;s website.</p><p>Search results include a photo of the offender,&nbsp; details of their conviction and other information.</p><p>Matthew Robison is a civil rights lawyer with Barrido and Robison LLC in Chicago.</p><p>He said even though offenders will only be on the gun offender registry list for four years, it could have a lasting impact on people&#39;s reputations.</p><p>&ldquo;What is placed on the Internet can&rsquo;t be undone,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So the question is not as much should we be ostracizing or dehumanizing these people, although that&rsquo;s a question in it of itself, so much as who it is that we&rsquo;re going to subject to this.&rdquo;</p><p>Robison said it&rsquo;s important that there&rsquo;s a balance between the right of the public to have this information about gun offenders versus the right of gun offenders to live a private life.</p><p>&ldquo;I think what legislators all over the country [need to] figure out where that balance lies,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>The revised ordinance will be up for a vote at next week&rsquo;s city council meeting.</p></p> Fri, 08 Mar 2013 17:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/widening-chicagos-gun-offender-registry-law-raising-civil-rights-issues-105989 Rev. Jesse Jackson addresses concern for his son — and community http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/rev-jesse-jackson-addresses-concern-his-son-%E2%80%94-and-community-100768 <p><div class="image-insert-image ">A month after taking a sudden medical leave of absence for exhaustion, the circumstances surrounding Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s condition remain a mystery. In a statement from the congressman&rsquo;s office last week, staffers explained that the Chicago Democrat&rsquo;s condition was more serious than initially perceived and that Jackson would require inpatient medical treatment &mdash; but for what? And for how long?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><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/RS6000_P1010723-scr.JPG" style="float: left; height: 187px; width: 280px;" title="Jesse Jackson in WBEZ studios (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div>The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. broadly addressed some of those questions on WBEZ&rsquo;s The Afternoon Shift on Tuesday.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Jackson Sr. said that he spoke with his son a few days ago and Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s voice was strong.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;When we met some weeks ago, he felt the need to get medical supervision,&rdquo; Jackson Sr. said. &ldquo;He was very weakened and we got that.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">He&#39;s now under medical supervision. He is regaining his strength and that part will be left to him and the doctors to describe at the appropriate time.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />Jackson Sr. said he hopes people will hear from his son soon. He said he relates to his son&#39;s medical issue as a father and he&#39;s pained and concerned about it.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />Meantime, many of Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s congressional colleagues are speaking out whether he should be more public about his medical issue.<br />Illinois&rsquo; senior senator, Dick Durbin, remarked Monday that his Republican colleague, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, has had regular and thorough updates on his health and answered &ldquo;hundreds of questions&rdquo; for voters after Kirk suffered a stroke earlier this year.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />&ldquo;As a public official, there comes a point when you have a responsibility to tell the public what&rsquo;s going on,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;If there is some medical necessity for him not to say more at this moment than I will defer to that. But he will have to soon make a report on what he&rsquo;s struggling with.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />Durbin repeated, Rep. Jackson&rsquo;s health is the primary concern. But his constituents, understandably, have concerns of their own.<br />While Jackson&rsquo;s father, longtime civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, has, for the most part, sidestepped specifics on his son&rsquo;s condition, he has been happy to discuss the challenges facing the middle class and potential solutions for economic recovery.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This weekend the Reverend&rsquo;s Rainbow PUSH Coalition will host the 41st annual conference of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund, titled &ldquo;A More Perfect Union: Closing the Gap and Expanding the Tent,&rdquo; bringing together innovators, thought leaders and activists to exchange ideas and strategies to protect the gains of the civil rights movement.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />Rev. Jackson joined the Afternoon Shift to discuss the ways in which poverty, transportation, segregation, unemployment and violence are interconnected.</div></p> Tue, 10 Jul 2012 14:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/rev-jesse-jackson-addresses-concern-his-son-%E2%80%94-and-community-100768 The Suffrage Train http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-03-07/suffrage-train-96947 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-05/Suffrage train_Schmidt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 1911 women voted in some states--but not in Illinois. On this date 101 years ago, a group of female activists from Chicago chartered a train and traveled to Springfield to lobby for voting rights.</p><p>At 9 a.m. the special "Suffrage Train" pulled out of the Illinois Central 12th Street Station. On board were over 300 women. The main group was from the Chicago Political Equality League, headed by Grace Wilbur Trout.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="323" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-03/03-07--Trout driving.jpg" title="Grace Wilbur Trout (Library of Congress)" width="486"></p><p>Women had lobbyed the legislature before. This time the contingent included female students from the University of Chicago. "We're going to smile and look pleasant at them, and tell them how young they look," one 20-year-old said. "That's the only way to make a man do what you want him to, anyway."</p><p>The Suffrage Train chugged south, stopping at dozens of stations along the way. People had gathered at each stop. Trout spoke to them from the train's rear platform, while her associates moved through the crowd, passing out literature.</p><p>They reached Springfield at 5 p.m. Two hours later, the women made a grand entrance at the Capitol. They had changed into evening clothes.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-03/03-07--on the way.jpg" style="width: 485px; height: 323px;" title="Suffragists on the way to Springfield (Library of Congress)"></p><p>The Illinois House of Representatives was meeting as a Committee of the Whole. Fifteen women spoke for three minutes each. Encouraged by the demonstrations of support that had greeted the Suffrage Train, they presented their case forcefully.</p><p>The speakers said that logic was on their side. There was no reason to deny women the vote, except outmoded custom. It was time the legislature move forward into the 20th Century. "We are dreadfully tired of the soft dwaddle of procrastination," Trout declared.</p><p>Margaret Dreier Robins was even more direct. Pounding the lectern for emphasis, she shouted: "We are not asking you for suffrage--we demand it!"</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="367" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-03/03-07--Mrs. Robins.jpg" title="Margaret Dreier Robins (Library of Congress)" width="393"></p><p>The legislators thanked the speakers for their insights, then adjourned. The day concluded with a reception at the Governor's Mansion. Most of the Chicago women remained in Springfield a few more days, to lobby on behalf of other issues.</p><p>The Illinois General Assembly failed to enact women's suffrage in 1911. The activists redoubled their efforts. They secured some voting rights in 1913. And in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution finally settled the matter.</p></p> Wed, 07 Mar 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-03-07/suffrage-train-96947 Add 2 talks Modern Day Coons and Cotton Fields, music that matters http://www.wbez.org/story/add-2-talks-modern-day-coons-and-cotton-fields-music-matters-95712 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-20/399901_10150699704154619_810684618_12128844_1807931135_n.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At the beginning of the movement, Hip Hop music served as a voice for the urban youth, the oppressed, it was a tool used to raise awareness to inner city turmoil. &nbsp;While that version of Hip Hop is no longer as pervasive as it once was, it still exists. In fact, it is still <em>that</em> Hip Hop that is capable of sparking discussion, addressing societal ills and affecting change. It is that strand of Hip Hop that <a href="https://twitter.com/add2themc">Add 2</a> excels at. Through his series of Mixtapes, he has shown that music is still a potent vehicle for social commentary. Add 2 joined Jesse Menendez on Vocalo's <a href="http://www.vocalo.org/musicvoxblog">MusicVox</a> to talk about his music and why he stands up and speaks his mind.</p><p>Interview edited by Adam Peindl.</p></p> Fri, 20 Jan 2012 21:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/add-2-talks-modern-day-coons-and-cotton-fields-music-matters-95712