WBEZ | African Americans http://www.wbez.org/tags/african-americans Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'The Great Migration' Conversation with Timuel D. Black Jr., Linda Johnson Rice & Adam Green http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/great-migration-conversation-timuel-d-black-jr-linda-johnson-rice-adam <p><p>As part of the programming for the 2013-14 One Book, One Chicago selection, Isabel Wilkerson&rsquo;s <em>The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story Of America&rsquo;s Great Migration</em>, the Chicago Public Library welcomed&nbsp;<strong>Timuel D. Black Jr</strong>., <strong>Linda Johnson Rice</strong> and <strong>Adam Green</strong> for an engaging conversation of how the Great Migration shaped their lives and the city of Chicago.&nbsp;</p><div>Timuel D. Black, Jr., a recent Champion of Freedom Award recipient, is a Chicago educator, activist and historian who has written extensively on the Great Migration in his books <em>Bridges of Memory: Chicago&rsquo;s First Wave of Black Migration </em>and <em>Bridges of Memory Volume 2:Chicago&rsquo;s Second Generation of Black Migration</em>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Linda Johnson Rice&rsquo;s parents, <strong>John and Eunice Johnson</strong>, came to Chicago from the South and built the Johnson Publishing Company, one of the world&rsquo;s most successful black-owned media companies of which Ms. Rice is President and CEO.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>University of Chicago History Professor Adam Green, writes about the Great Migration in his books <em>Selling the Race: The Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940-1955</em> and <em>Time Longer than Rope: Studies in African American Activism, 1850-1950</em>.&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</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/CPL-webstory_36.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br />Recorded live Monday, May 6, 2013 at the Harold Washington Library Center.</p></p> Mon, 06 May 2013 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/great-migration-conversation-timuel-d-black-jr-linda-johnson-rice-adam Death of a pioneer http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/death-pioneer-106831 <p><p>As a black woman, pioneer aviator Elizabeth&nbsp;Coleman&nbsp;overcame two career obstacles before dying in a flying accidentt on April 30, 1926.</p><p>Coleman&mdash;always known as Bessie&mdash;was born into a large family of Texas cotton farmers in 1892.&nbsp;She joined the great migration north in 1915, settling in Chicago.&nbsp;Her first job was as a manicurist.</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/4-30--Bessie%20Coleman%20%28NASA%20photo%29.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 350px; float: right;" title="Bessie Coleman (NASA photo)" /></div><p>Coleman was intrigued by stories of combat flying during World War I. Yet when the war ended, no American flight school would accept her.&nbsp;She had to go abroad to achieve her dream.</p><p>She learned French, saved her money, and got financial help from&nbsp;<em>Defender</em> publisher Robert S. Abbott and other businessmen.&nbsp;She went to France and earned her pilot&rsquo;s license.&nbsp;Finally, in 1921, Bessie&nbsp;Coleman returned to the U.S. as the country&rsquo;s first female African-American flier.</p><p>Commercial aviation was in its infancy. Coleman could become either a mail pilot or a stunt flier. Both were dangerous jobs, but stunt flying paid better.</p><p>Coleman was young, attractive, and extroverted. Performing appealed to her.&nbsp;She joined the circuit of air thrill shows.&nbsp;Now her gender and race worked to her advantage, giving her added publicity value.&nbsp;Back in Chicago, her friends at the <em>Defender</em> printed detailed accounts of her many triumphs.</p><p>On April 30, 1926, Coleman was in Jacksonville, Florida.&nbsp;An air show was scheduled for the next day.&nbsp;With her mechanic at the controls of her open plane, Coleman took off to scout out the area.&nbsp;Coleman wasn&rsquo;t strapped in. She wanted more freedom to see over the edge of the plane.</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/04-30--Defender%2C%205-8-1926.jpg" style="width: 265px; height: 216px; float: left;" title="'Chicago Defender' national edition--May 8, 1926" /></div><p>About ten minutes into the flight, the plane suddenly went into a spin.&nbsp;Coleman was thrown from the cockpit and fell to her death.&nbsp;The plane crashed, killing the mechanic. As it turned out, the cause of the&nbsp;accident was dreadfully simple&ndash;a loose wrench had fallen into the gears and jammed them.</p><p>The air show was cancelled.&nbsp;Coleman&rsquo;s body was returned to Chicago, where more than 10,000 people filed past her coffin in Pilgrim Baptist Church.&nbsp;She was buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Alsip.&nbsp;For many years afterward, African-American pilots performed an annual fly-over of her grave.</p><p>In 1995 the U.S. postal service honored&nbsp;Chicago&rsquo;s aviation pioneer&nbsp;with a Black Heritage commemorative stamp.&nbsp;And today one of the streets at O&rsquo;Hare Airport is named Bessie Coleman Drive.</p></p> Tue, 30 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/death-pioneer-106831 Black Chicago at Mid-Century http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/black-chicago-mid-century-104527 <p><p>It was December 1949, and the 20th Century was reaching its mid-point. On this date the <em>Tribune </em>began running a series of articles by reporter Carl Wiegman about a group that was becoming increasingly visible and important&mdash;Chicago&rsquo;s African-Americans.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/12-28--47th Street.jpg" title="47th Street at South Park Way, 1930s (CTA photo)" /></div><p>In 1910 the city&rsquo;s Black population had been 44,000. By 1940 the number had grown to 277,000, and was projected to rise to about 400,000 in 1950&ndash;over 10 percent of Chicago&rsquo;s population. That was a significant number of people. They could no longer be ignored.</p><p>Housing was the number one problem. True, the number of African-Americans in the city had kept growing and growing and growing. But because of segregation, they were still crammed into the narrow &ldquo;Black Belt&rdquo; on the South Side.</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/12-28--new%20public%20housing.jpg" title="New public housing units (City of Chicago)" /></div><p>Unscrupulous landlords had taken advantage of the situation. Countless old apartment buildings had been chopped up. A former six-flat might now have twenty or more kitchenettes. These units had a single room, equipped with a bed, stove and ice box. One mother was struggling to raise seven children in these cramped quarters.&nbsp;</p><p>The housing conditions led to social problems. The crime rate among African-Americans was high. With several families using the same bathrooms and cooking facilities, quarrels resulted. Parents would avoid returning to their congested living quarters, and the children would be neglected.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/12-28--W.L.%20Dawson.jpg" style="width: 242px; height: 380px; float: left;" title="Congressman Dawson (author's collection)" /></div></div><p>There did seem to be hope for the future. The city was planning to expand public housing,&nbsp;in order&nbsp;to&nbsp;alleviate the over-crowding. And in just the previous May, restrictive real estate covenants&ndash;which promoted segregation&ndash;had been outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court.</p><p>African-Americans had traditionally been &ldquo;last to be hired, first to be fired.&rdquo; That was slowly changing. The Urban League reported that the percentage of Blacks employed in many industries had risen sharply&ndash;in printing and publishing, for example, the figure had jumped from 1.2% to 19.7% between 1940 and 1945. But with the end of World War II the job market had tightened, and equal employment opportunity was not yet a reality.</p><p>Still, the community was starting to flex its political muscle. Chicago had a number of African-American government officials, and three of the city&rsquo;s fifty aldermen were Black. The South Side was also the home of Congressman&nbsp;William L. Dawson, one of only two Blacks in the U.S. House of Representatives.</p><p>The <em>Tribune</em> later reprinted the Wiegman articles in booklet form. For anyone interested in the history of Chicago&rsquo;s African-Americans, they&rsquo;re worth reading. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 28 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/black-chicago-mid-century-104527 The story of Jesse Binga, an early black entrepreneur with social motives http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-28/story-jesse-binga-early-black-entrepreneur-social-motives-96623 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-27/Jesse Binga_Schmidt.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to John Schmidt discuss Jesse Binga on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332738642-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/848_2-28-12_John.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>Today the street where Jesse Binga lived is named for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That's appropriate. When the street was called South Park Avenue and Binga lived at number 5922, the house became a symbol of the civil rights struggle.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-23/02-28--Jesse Binga.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 357px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Jesse Binga was an early 20th century entrepreneur who started Chicago's first black-owned bank. (Collection of John Schmidt)">Jesse Binga was a go-getter. Born in Detroit in 1865, he started out to be a barber like his father. He moved through a number of jobs before settling in Chicago at the time of the 1893 World's Fair. A few years later he entered the real estate business.</p><p>Chicago's African-American population was small at the turn of the 20th Century, but that was about to change. Here Binga saw his opportunity.</p><p>During the first decades of the new century, Southern blacks began moving north. Chicago's neighborhoods were segregated, like most northern cities. The newcomers settled into a narrow section of the South Side. but as more people arrived, they began to burst the boundaries of the "Black Belt."</p><p>Jesse Binga became the main agent of racial succession. He bought property from whites who wanted to move out, fixed it up, then resold to blacks who needed a place to live. He helped his people--and he got rich.</p><p>From real estate he moved into banking. He took over a failed bank at State and 36th and reopened it as the Binga Bank, the city's first black-owned financial institution. In 1910 he ran for the County Board as a Republican, but lost. After that he steered clear of politics.</p><p>Binga moved to South Park Avenue in 1917. The Washington Park neighborhood was then all-white. He received death threats and the house was repeatedly bombed. He had to hire 24-hour security guards.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-23/02-28--Binga Home.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 289px; float: right; margin: 5px;" title="Binga's home at 5922 S. King Dr. is now a landmark. (WBEZ/John Schmidt)">Binga defiantly refused to move. He was an American citizen and could live where he pleased. Years passed before the violence finally stopped.</p><p>The Binga business empire reached its peak during the 1920s. He rechartered the bank as the Binga State Bank and erected a new building at the northwest corner of State and 35th. Next to it he constructed a five-story office building called the Binga Arcade. He announced plans to open another, federally-chartered bank.</p><p>Then the stock market crashed. The Depression followed, the Binga State Bank failed and thousands of African-American depositors were wiped out.</p><p>Binga was wiped out, too. He served a prison sentence for embezzlement, though many thought the charges were trumped up and he was later pardoned by the governor. He spent his last years working as a janitor at St. Anselm Church, for $15 a week.</p><p>Jesse Binga died in 1950. His home is a registered Chicago Landmark, and is privately owned.</p></p> Tue, 28 Feb 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-28/story-jesse-binga-early-black-entrepreneur-social-motives-96623 The Father of Chicago: Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-08-08/father-chicago-jean-baptiste-pointe-dusable-90020 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-08/DuSable.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>"The first white man to settle in Chicago was black." That was a popular witticism around town in the 1930s, and it says a lot about the attitudes of the time. Of course, the person referred to was Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable.</p><p>DuSable was the first non-indigenous resident of our area. We know that. But much of the historical record is fuzzy. Even his name has different versions, such as "au Sable" or "de Saible." Nor do we have any real idea of his physical appearance, except that he was a big man.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-02/DuSable.jpg" style="width: 420px; height: 356px; " title=""></p><p>He was born in Santa Domingo (Haiti) around 1745. His father was a French sailor--some sources say a pirate--and his mother an enslaved African. According to legend, when Jean Baptiste's mother was killed during a Spanish raid, the boy swam out to his father's ship to take refuge. After that, the older DuSable took his son to France to be educated.</p><p>Along with a friend, Jean Baptiste arrived in New Orleans in 1764. The two young men became traders, journeying up the Mississippi and through the Midwest as far as present-day Michigan. During this time, DuSable married a Potawatomie woman and became a member of the tribe. The Potawatomie called him the "Black Chief."</p><p>Sometime after 1770, Dusable moved to the region known as Eschecagou--which visitors mispronounced as "Chicago." He built a trading post at the mouth of the local river, near where the Tribune Tower now stands. During the American Revolution he was forced off his claims and briefly interred by the British. He wound up operating a different trading post in Michigan.</p><p>DuSable reclaimed his Chicago property at the end of the war. Besides his 22x40-foot residence, he now built two barns, a mill, bakery, dairy, workshop, henhouse, and smokehouse. He sold pork, bread, and flour. As an adopted Potawatomie he enjoyed good relations with the native peoples. Many of them worked for him.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-02/DuSable Cabin.jpg" style="width: 470px; height: 285px; " title=""></p><p>in 1800 DuSable abruptly sold his holdings. Why he did this is a mystery. He farmed near Peoria for about ten years, until his wife died. Then he moved in with his daughter at St. Charles, Missouri.</p><p>He had once been spoken of as a wealthy man, but most of that wealth was gone. Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable died at his daughter's house on August 28, 1818, and was buried in the local Catholic cemetery. His gravesite remained unmarked until 1968.</p><p>After DuSable left Chicago, his property on the riverbank was taken over by John Kinzie. The years passed, and Kinzie was hailed as Mr. Pioneer Settler. DuSable was forgotten.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-02/DuSable bust.JPG" style="width: 470px; height: 335px; " title=""></p><p>The city's first recognition of DuSable came in 1912, when a plaque was placed on a building near his cabin site. Later a high school named for him was erected on Wabash Avenue. In 2006 the Chicago City Council officially recognized DuSable as the founder of Chicago.</p><p>The newest memorial to DuSable is an outdoor statuary bust. Dedicated in 2009, it's located on Michigan Avenue just north of the river--right near his old front door.</p></p> Mon, 08 Aug 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-08-08/father-chicago-jean-baptiste-pointe-dusable-90020 Joliet lashes back at federal prosecutors over housing suit http://www.wbez.org/story/joliet-lashes-back-federal-prosecutors-over-housing-suit-90203 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-05/Thanas.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A top Joliet official is lashing back at federal prosecutors for suing his city to block condemnation of a low-income housing complex called Evergreen Terrace.<br> <br> The suit, a civil complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, accuses Joliet of violating the Fair Housing Act, trying to “perpetuate segregation,” and attempting to “limit or reduce the number of Black or African-American residents residing within the city.”<br> <br> City Manager Tom Thanas called the suit a legal maneuver to “wear us down” by lengthening Joliet’s six-year legal battle for authority to condemn the complex. “This is at a time when Joliet doesn’t have the financial resources to take on big litigation,” Thanas said Friday afternoon. “We, like other municipalities around the country, are suffering with declining revenues and increasing expenses.”<br> <br> Thanas stuck by the city’s claim that Evergreen Terrace, a privately owned 356-unit development, has too many police and fire calls. But whether to keep fighting for condemnation authority is up to Joliet elected officials, Thanas added. “That’s something we’ll be reviewing with the mayor and city council,” he said.<br> <br> The complex houses about 765 low-income residents, nearly all African-American, and abuts the Des Plaines River across from downtown Joliet.<br> <br> Joliet’s attempts to close Evergreen Terrace stretch back more than a decade. The city tried to block refinancing for the complex but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sunk in millions of dollars.<br> <br> In 2005, Joliet asked a state court for condemnation authority. The HUD stake sent the condemnation bid into the federal court system, where it remains.<br> <br> The property’s owners, New West Limited Partnership and New Bluff Limited Partnership, filed a federal suit against the condemnation. A group of residents filed another federal suit against it. One of those residents, Teresa Davis, also filed a complaint with HUD, which led to Thursday’s U.S. Department of Justice suit.<br> <br> Joliet officials say the city for years has planned to redevelop the site for affordable housing and help relocate the residents.<br> <br> But Thursday’s suit claims “the city has no meaningful plan” for those aims.<br> <br> Patrick Johnson, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said Friday afternoon that prosecutors held discussions with Joliet officials before filing the suit. Johnson called those talks unsuccessful and said the sides have scheduled no other settlement negotiations. Next week, he added, the government will motion for its suit to be joined with the other federal suits aimed at preserving Evergreen Terrace. Johnson said the case’s discovery phase could last at least a year.<br> <br> Asked whether the government was just trying to wear down Joliet, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said prosecutors would have no further comment.<br> <br> An Evergreen Terrace resident, for his part, said the federal suit was already having an effect — bringing some positive attention to the complex. “I don’t see much wrong with the place,” said Elvis Foster, 53, who lives in a one-bedroom apartment and serves on the tenant council. “You’re close to downtown. You got the Joliet Junior College just two blocks away. And [the complex] is not feared as much as people would say.”</p></p> Fri, 05 Aug 2011 21:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/joliet-lashes-back-federal-prosecutors-over-housing-suit-90203 Census could fuel case for new Latino Congressional district http://www.wbez.org/story/2010-census/census-could-fuel-case-new-latino-congressional-district <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/HispanicCaucus.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois may be losing a Congressional seat, but new census figures could be good news for the state&rsquo;s Latinos. <br /><br />A U.S. Census Bureau estimate for 2009 suggests the number of Latinos in the state had grown by almost 440,000 since 2000. Census figures coming out early next year are expected to show those residents concentrated in the Chicago area.<br /><br />If so, the U.S. Voting Rights Act might require Illinois to create its second mostly Latino Congressional district, according to attorney Virginia Martínez of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.<br /><br />&ldquo;We need to ensure that our voice is not diluted by drawing lines that cut up our community,&rdquo; Martínez said. &ldquo;It impacts everything that affects us -- the future of immigration reform, lunch meals served to our children in schools.&rdquo;<br /><br />Martínez worked on a pair of 1981 lawsuits that led to the first Latino aldermanic ward in Chicago and the first Latino legislative district in Illinois. By 1992, the state had its first Latino Congressional district, represented ever since by Luis Gutiérrez, D-Chicago.<br /><br />Martínez said a second Latino Congressional district would not have to come at the expense of African Americans. That is because Latinos have been settling in areas that had been mainly white, she said.</p></p> Wed, 29 Dec 2010 20:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/2010-census/census-could-fuel-case-new-latino-congressional-district When someone else’s art lands in your neighborhood http://www.wbez.org/story/abductions/when-someone-else%E2%80%99s-art-lands-your-neighborhood <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Sculpture2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><b>Ten sculptors have put up outdoor pieces in Chicago&rsquo;s East Garfield Park neighborhood. The installation&rsquo;s supposed to stay up for a year. The group says the purpose is to expose people to art that they might not be able to see otherwise. But, then again, residents never asked for the opportunity. So what happens when someone else&rsquo;s art lands in your neighborhood? We report from our West Side bureau.</b><br /><br />Before looking into how the 10 pieces are going over in East Garfield Park, I ask Chicago sculptor Terrence Karpowicz to show them to me. He led the installation.<br /><br />MITCHELL: To me it looks like a huge, three-fingered claw. What is this?<br />KARPOWICZ: This is a sculpture by Fisher Stoltz titled &ldquo;Moonbench.&rdquo; I see it as a rendezvous point for the local community. They can actually come and sit down and converse.<br />MITCHELL: Yeah, there&rsquo;s a marble bench here.<br />KARPOWICZ: Actually it&rsquo;s granite. There is an electrical element that lights up at night so that the white marble sphere glows. Come on and sit down.<br />MITCHELL: Yeah, now that we&rsquo;re sitting down, this granite is very cold on my fat rear end.<br />KARPOWICZ: It warms up in summertime.<br /><br />The sculptures stand as high as 14 feet. They&rsquo;re spanning a half-mile boulevard called West Franklin for the next year. The artists are all members of a group called Chicago Sculpture International.<br /><br />Karpowicz takes me to a pile of rings made of industrial tubing.<br /><br />KARPOWICZ: That&rsquo;s a sculpture by Dusty Falwarczny. The title of the sculpture is &ldquo;Scrap.&rdquo; I measure that one as, probably, a three-shopping-cart operation.<br />MITCHELL: You measure the volume by shopping carts?<br />KARPOWICZ: That&rsquo;s how many shopping carts it&rsquo;ll take to get that to a scrap yard. Because you see a lot of hardworking men with shopping carts and they pick up debris and take it to recycling places.<br />MITCHELL: Have you ever lost one of your works to shopping carts?<br />KARPOWICZ: No, thank goodness.<br /><br />And there&rsquo;s more to see. Karpowicz shows me a giant, spiky sphere made of orange traffic cones. And there&rsquo;s a stainless-steel piece called &ldquo;Abduction.&rdquo;<br /><br />The installation is definitely capturing attention in the neighborhood.<br /><br />MAN: Oh, man, that&rsquo;s cool. Who did that?<br />WOMAN: It beautifies the neighborhood.<br />MAN: It&rsquo;s really nice for the block.<br />GRANT: I like them.<br />MITCHELL: What&rsquo;s your name?<br />GRANT: My name is Felincia Grant.<br />MITCHELL: Do any of the pieces stick out to you -- that you can really relate to?<br />GRANT: The one that&rsquo;s all the way down on Franklin and Kedzie. It looks like a hook. Actually, to be honest with you, I had a nephew that was--there used to be a tree there. My nephew ran into this tree. And that&rsquo;s where he died. And that piece, right there, it was put where the tree was.<br />MITCHELL: Does it remind you of him?<br />GRANT: Yeah. He had these hooked attitudes at times. He made a lot of bad choices. But he was a good kid.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s easy to find people who admire at least some of the 10 new sculptures in East Garfield Park. It&rsquo;s harder to find folks who have a beef with the installation, but they are around.<br /><br />FIELDS: My name is Cy Fields.<br /><br />Fields is pastor of New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, a few blocks southeast of the parkway.<br /><br />FIELDS: It seems like they just plopped artwork in the community and just sort of said, &lsquo;Well, here it is and, surprise, I hope you enjoy it.&rsquo; I&rsquo;m not against community beautification and artwork, but I think the process and the end goal are very important. Many schools are struggling to have art classes in the schools. Can the artists come and teach the kids in East Garfield Park? Communities of color--African American and Latino--have their share of capable artists. Will their artwork be able to go to the North Side or to other communities as well? Let&rsquo;s have a cultural exchange.<br /><br />Fields isn&rsquo;t the only one talking about race. An unemployed interior decorator named Tony Green wants to know why the sculptures ended up in his neighborhood.<br /><br />GREEN: Only in the black community with no blacks involved. That&rsquo;s not personal, is it?<br /><br />These are fair questions. Karpowicz&rsquo;s group got an alderman&rsquo;s approval to put the sculptures up. But the group did not work with residents to choose the art or get them involved any other way.<br /><br />MITCHELL: How about helping artists in this community display their art here on the boulevard?<br />KARPOWICZ: Well, if those artists were members of Chicago Sculpture International, which they certainly can become part of, they&rsquo;d be the first ones on the list. It&rsquo;s not about shutting anybody out. It&rsquo;s about inclusivity.<br /><br />But then Karpowicz tells me the group&rsquo;s got a hundred and forty-nine members and not one is African American.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Why is that? Something like a third or 40 percent of the population here in the city is African American. <br />KARPOWICZ: We don&rsquo;t reach out, we don&rsquo;t publicize. As a result of an exhibition like this, if there are sculptors out there who happen to be African American [and] they want to be sculptors, the door is open. It&rsquo;s always open.<br /><br />He points out annual memberships cost only 25 dollars.<br /><br />Karpowicz and I keep talking as he shows me some sculptures toward the end of the parkway. He reminds me they&rsquo;ll be up in East Garfield Park only a year.<br /><br />KARPOWICZ: A lot of the people who live around here probably wouldn&rsquo;t venture downtown to see sculpture. And this is our opportunity, as part of the sculpture community of Chicago, to bring art to the communities.<br />MITCHELL: Where we&rsquo;re standing right now, we&rsquo;ve got a vacant lot on this side and we&rsquo;ve got another vacant lot we&rsquo;re standing in right now. The population here--they&rsquo;re not going to be buying these pieces afterwards.<br />KARPOWICZ: No, they probably won&rsquo;t, Chip, but I think they&rsquo;ll appreciate art a lot more. They&rsquo;ll appreciate sculpture. Next time they see a piece of art, they&rsquo;ll say, &lsquo;Oh yeah, we had one of those in our neighborhood once.&rsquo;<br /><br />If this installation works out, Karpowicz says his group&rsquo;ll try to bring sculptures to other Chicago boulevards. Next time, he says, the artists will try harder to get the neighborhood involved.</p></p> Wed, 08 Dec 2010 22:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/abductions/when-someone-else%E2%80%99s-art-lands-your-neighborhood Suburban school district vows to defend expulsion http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/suburban-school-district-vows-defend-expulsion <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-04/ProvisoEast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A suburban school district says it&rsquo;ll fight a lawsuit aimed at overturning the expulsion of a student. Proviso Township High Schools says kicking him out was necessary for the safety of other students. <br /><br />Proviso East High School in west suburban Maywood claims Coris Ashford, 17, took part in a hallway fight that injured a student last May. The district says it caught the fight on videotape. Officials expelled Ashford and two other students until next August.<br /><br />Ashford&rsquo;s mother, Erica Edmond, says the punishment is not justifiable. &ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t show me the videotape,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t show me any type of proof that my son did anything.&rdquo;<br /><br />In a statement Thursday afternoon, the district says it gave each student due process and will defend itself &ldquo;to the fullest extent.&rdquo;<br /><br />In July, a Cook County judge threw out a Proviso East expulsion that involved an unrelated incident last year.<br /><br />In September, WBEZ found that the school district has been suspending or expelling one in three of its students each year.</p></p> Thu, 04 Nov 2010 21:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/suburban-school-district-vows-defend-expulsion Assessor election suggests white reformers ought not go it alone http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/assessor-election-suggests-white-reformers-ought-not-go-it-alone <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-03/Claypool_at_Salem.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The results of a fiercely contested Cook County election are exposing a gulf between white liberals and minority voters.<br /><br />Forrest Claypool&rsquo;s anti-machine rhetoric has proven popular over the years with white progressives. But he needed broader support to beat Democrat Joe Berrios in Tuesday&rsquo;s Cook County assessor election.<br /><br />In particular, Claypool had to do better in heavily minority neighborhoods than when he tried to unseat Cook County Board President John Stroger in 2006.<br /><br />He didn&rsquo;t do better.<br /><br />Jamiko Rose, executive director of the Organization of the Northeast, said the results show how far the progressive movement has to go. &ldquo;We need to identify the issues that different ethnic communities care about and build relationships and work on those issues,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />Many community organizers say a good-government agenda isn&rsquo;t enough. They say reformers also need to focus on issues like jobs, schools and public safety.</p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 22:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/assessor-election-suggests-white-reformers-ought-not-go-it-alone