WBEZ | History http://www.wbez.org/tags/history Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Restored instruments from concentration camps give rise to 'Violins of Hope' http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-02/restored-instruments-concentration-camps-give-rise-violins-hope <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Amnon Weinstein in his Tel Aviv shop (Debra Yasinow via WCPN).jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 213px; width: 320px;" title="Amnon Weinstein in his Tel Aviv shop. (Debra Yasinow via WCPN)" /></div></div><p style="text-align: justify;">A collection of stringed instruments, largely silent for seven decades, is giving voice to the horrors of the Holocaust.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The &ldquo;Violins of Hope&rdquo; were once owned by the inmates of Nazi concentration camps and are now part of a three-month&nbsp;<a href="http://www.violinsofhopecle.org/" target="_blank">exhibit</a>&nbsp;that opens today in Cleveland.&nbsp;David C. Barnett&nbsp;from&nbsp;<em>Here &amp;&nbsp;Now</em>&nbsp;contributor WCPN has the story behind the violins.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="340" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tH7tm_opFks?rel=0" width="540"></iframe></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/02/violins-concentrations-camps" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 15:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-02/restored-instruments-concentration-camps-give-rise-violins-hope Rare film is glimpse of a distant America http://www.wbez.org/news/rare-film-glimpse-distant-america-113163 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/daughterofdawn.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res442318236" previewtitle="From The Daughter of Dawn"><div><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BIedxxNrLC4?rel=0" width="420"></iframe></p><p>For decades,&nbsp;<em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;was a &quot;lost film&quot; &ndash; a buried American treasure. The 1920 multi-reel, silent movie was rediscovered and restored a few years ago.</p></div></div><p>Only recently has the movie become more widely available. You can watch it on Netflix. You can also see some representative clips and a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hhb9QXxcCM" target="_blank">travelogue piece</a>&nbsp;on YouTube. And in December the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.okhistory.org/research/daughterofdawn" target="_blank">Oklahoma Historical Society</a>&nbsp;plans to issue DVD and Blu-ray versions.</p><p><em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;is more than just another Friday night flick. It is a cinematic wormhole into America&#39;s past.</p><p>&quot;The rediscovery of&nbsp;<em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;is a great historical find,&quot; Jeffrey M. Moore of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.okpop.org/" target="_blank">Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture</a>&nbsp;tells NPR. &quot;Not only is it significant because so few independent films from the silent era survived but it captures a time period often romanticized in a very real and authentic way. The imagery from American-Indian culture on the southern plains is for the most part presented unfiltered by the non-Indian filmmakers.&quot;</p><p>In the movie, Moore says, &quot;The viewer gets to see Kiowas and Comanches wearing their traditional clothing without the help of Hollywood wardrobe departments. Besides the scenes on horseback and hunting buffalo, there are scenes of traditional dances being performed that would have been forbidden by the federal government if not for the fact that they were part of the film.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/emSPu6VoJjE?rel=0" width="420"></iframe></p><p>And the background landscape of the Wichita Mountains, he adds, &quot;gives an environmental purity lost when later films portraying Plains tribes would be filmed in locations like Monument Valley.&quot;</p><p>The Oklahoma Historical Society commissioned Comanche composer David A. Yeagley to write a musical score for the film.</p><p><strong>Past Meets Future</strong></p><p><img alt="From The Daughter of Dawn" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/21/image_sq-a9c1da1676db0391b356eebdb26746b26fac6ece-s800-c85.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 320px; width: 320px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="From The Daughter of Dawn (Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society)" /></p><p>The 80-minute movie is a melodramatic tale of love among Native Americans, featuring some 300 Kiowas and Comanches in all sorts of acting roles.</p><p>You can find a few old newspaper ads for showings of the movie, such as a three-night engagement in Joplin, Mo. in the spring of 1921 that included a half-dozen Native American actors appearing in real life.</p><p>The film&#39;s setting &mdash; a lovely and hauntingly unspoiled stretch of landscape &mdash; represents a national geographic crossroads. &quot;Four types of habitat could be found in the Wichita Mountains: rocklands, aquatic, mixed grass prairie, and cross-timbers,&quot; writes Douglas Brinkley in&nbsp;<em>The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.</em>&nbsp;&quot;It was said by western frontiersmen that the ancestral Wichitas &ndash; this series of rock prominences &ndash; was where the East met the West at the vertex of the Great Plains.&quot;</p><p>And&nbsp;<em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;represents a crossroads of perception. Seeing the film, you do get the feeling that the black-and-white, silent movie &ndash; replete with bison herds, village scenes, ritualistic dancing and derring-do &ndash; takes us back to the early 20th century and then catapults us back even farther than that. A time when Hollywoodish sensibilities were just beginning to reshape historical America &mdash; a time when real met reel.</p><p><em>The Library of Congress lists&nbsp;The Daughter of Dawn&nbsp;in the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/" target="_blank">National Film Registry</a>, a collection of culturally valuable movies.</em></p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/npr-history-dept/2015/10/02/442317667/rare-film-is-glimpse-of-a-distant-america?ft=nprml&amp;f=442317667" target="_blank"> via NPR&#39;s History Dept.</a></em></p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rare-film-glimpse-distant-america-113163 Henry Dumas wrote about black people killed by cops. Then he was killed by a cop. http://www.wbez.org/news/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-cops-then-he-was-killed-cop-113143 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/HenryDumas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&quot;A young black man, Henry Dumas, went through a turnstile at a New York City subway station,&quot; reads an invitation by Toni Morrison for a posthumous book-launch party she threw for Dumas in 1974, six years after he died. &quot;A transit cop&quot; &mdash; who was white &mdash; &quot;shot him in the chest and killed him. Circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Before that happened, however, he had written some of the most beautiful, moving and profound poetry and fiction that I have ever in my life read.&quot;</p><p>In the nearly 50 years since Henry Dumas was killed, not much more has come to light about what happened on the night of his death. No witnesses came forward to testify. Police records were lost in a bureaucratic shuffle. Harlem, where Dumas moved as a young man after growing up in rural Arkansas, had&nbsp;<a href="https://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/disasters/riots-harlem_1964.html">erupted</a>&nbsp;in large-scale protests over the police killings of black and brown men several times before the writer was killed. But Dumas&#39; death hardly made the news. With so little information to draw from, it&#39;s as if the last pages of his life were torn out.</p><p>Dumas&#39; final scene echoed a theme he turned to again and again in his writing: violent confrontations between white men and black men. The work he left behind &mdash; short stories that range from hard realism to science fiction, an almost finished novel, volumes of poetry, and even a few accompaniments to the work of the mystical jazz legend Sun Ra &mdash; contains bitingly sharp depictions of racial tension in America that, in an almost unbelievably eerie way, speak to his own fate.</p><p>It is, of course, a fate that many black men and women had and would suffer under dubious circumstances &mdash; from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/harlem-riots-1943-echo-today-article-1.2216788">Robert Bandy</a>&nbsp;in 1935,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vice.com/read/race-riots-then-and-now-501">James Powell</a>&nbsp;in 1964, 10-year-old&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/nyregion/fired-at-queens-boy-fatal-1973-police-shot-still-reverberates.html">Clifford Glover</a>&nbsp;in 1973, and&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-09-12/news/9909120226_1_officers-lawyer-chicago-police-supt-joseph-roddy">LaTanya Haggerty</a>&nbsp;in 1999 to the more recent deaths of Michael Brown,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article15728675.html">Janisha Fonville</a>, Eric Garner,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/01/tanisha_anderson_was_restraine.html">Tanisha Anderson</a>&nbsp;and Freddie Gray, to name only a few.</p><p>&quot;His work and, in fact, his death, investigated and illustrated the ways in which black lives were at best peripheral to most white people &mdash; especially those running and policing the country,&quot; says James Smethurst, a University of Massachusetts, Amherst professor who has written extensively about 1960s and &#39;70s black writers.</p><p>Much of Dumas&#39; writing is considered to be a part of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/blackarts/historical.htm">Black Arts Movement</a>&nbsp;&mdash; the artistic manifestation of the Black Power struggle of the 1960s &mdash; an effort that Smethurst believes has a lot of resonance with the Black Lives Matter movement. While interest in Dumas has increased somewhat in recent years, he says, &quot;We still have a long way to go before he gets the sort of attention he deserves.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;The People Get Tired Of Dying&#39;</strong></p><p>One of the only known accounts of the night Dumas was killed comes from an obituary in&nbsp;<em>The Amsterdam News</em>,&nbsp;a black-owned newspaper in New York City that was founded in 1909. &quot;Police said Dumas and an unidentified man were scuffling in the subway when the officer walked up to them and attempted to stop the fracas,&quot; the obit reads. &quot;Police said Dumas, resentful at the interference, slashed the officer who shot and killed him.&quot;</p><p>Without the benefit of photographic evidence or firsthand witnesses to accompany the official police report, it is impossible to know the full story of what happened that night. It&#39;s also impossible to take in Dumas&#39; story without acknowledging that the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/samuel-dubose-cops-corroberating-unarmed-black-death">track record of believability</a>, when it comes to official accounts of black deaths at the hands of law enforcement,&nbsp;<a href="http://kxan.com/2014/08/22/family-of-woman-shot-killed-by-bastrop-county-sheriffs-deputy-seeks-damages/">isn&#39;t a clean one</a>.</p><p>Dumas wrote stories that echo cases like that of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland who was killed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30220700">seconds after</a>&nbsp;a police vehicle pulled up to where he was playing. &quot;When a Negro boy is shot and killed by policemen who do not check the situation before pulling their guns, the people get angry. It is a simple law of nature. ... The people get tired of dying,&quot; says one of Dumas&#39; characters in a short story called &quot;Riot or Revolt.&quot;</p><p>Published most recently in a 2003 collection of Dumas&#39; work called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Echo-Tree-Collected-Fiction-Movement/dp/1566891493">Echo Tree</a>, that story follows a young black man named Harold through the aftermath of violent public protest across Harlem:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The police barricades squatted on the sidewalk surrounding each place where mobs had struck.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Harold stood on the ramp in the middle of Seventh Avenue and 125th Street and surveyed the area which the night before had swarmed with police and angry Harlemites. A youth had been slain by the police in Brooklyn.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><div id="res437321514"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="A view of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem circa 1970." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/national-bookstore-getty_custom-263741acaf9cdad5decfc88cff572694dce03c46-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 397px; width: 600px;" title="A view of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem circa 1970. (Jack Garofalo/Paris Match via Getty Images)" /></div></div><p>Those who have studied Dumas&#39; life and work believe the fictional LeMoor Brothers&#39; Bookstore in that story was modeled on the real National Memorial African Bookstore, which stood a short walk from the 135th Street subway station where Dumas was killed. Owned by Lewis Michaux, a bookseller and black civil rights leader who encouraged his neighbors to read the books he stocked on African history, culture and philosophy even if they couldn&#39;t afford to buy them, the store&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/vaunda-micheaux-nelson/no-crystal-stair/">attracted</a>&nbsp;figures like Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and Muhammad Ali.</p><p>Not unlike Dumas&#39; LeMoor, Michaux had a lot to say about black Americans&#39; struggle for power. &quot;We&#39;ve been neglected for three hundred years,&quot; <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">he</a><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">&nbsp;told</a><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">&nbsp;a<em> New Yorker</em>&nbsp;reporter in 1966</a>. &quot;As much as I hate to see what&#39;s going to happen, I believe that when the Negro knocks this time and nobody open the door, he&#39;s just going to knock it right down.&quot;</p><p>In &quot;Riot or Revolt,&quot; city officials stop in to speak to the owners of LeMoor Brothers&#39; Bookstore, which had been left untouched by the looters who ravaged nearly every other store on the street. The officers want to know what made his shop so exceptional, but its owner, Micheval LeMoor, takes issue with the fact that city officials seemed to visit Harlem only when its frustrated residents reached a breaking point:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;You want to come visit here and get the notions about things being better, while right now some disrespectful guardian of the citizens beats a black man&#39;s head in. It doesn&#39;t matter if he&#39;s guilty or not anymore. Your honor, what you are facing is the full anger of a man who has been under attack for years. Unless you call off the attackers, be they merchants, disrespectful policemen, or the American majority, then the black minority is going to tear your house down.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>While &quot;Riot or Revolt&quot; may have been closely inspired by actual people if not actual events, other Dumas stories are imaginative forays into allegorical fables and otherworldly realms. Dumas&#39; vast range captivated many of his fellow writers, before and after his death. The poet and civil rights activist&nbsp;<a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/haki-madhubuti">Haki R. Madhubati</a>&nbsp;called him &quot;a poet of complex melodies,&quot; and Amiri Baraka called him an &quot;Afro-surreal expressionist&quot; who delivered &quot;a new blackness.&quot;</p><div id="res444198122"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Three of the published works of Dumas." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/28/dumas-books_custom-a24dcbd804e2efd2e6d60adc2472052f719f56b9-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 289px; width: 600px;" title="Three of the published works of Dumas. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;I was impressed with his boldness of language and his boldness of breadth,&quot; Maya Angelou said in a 1988 interview published in an issue of the&nbsp;<em>Black American Literature Forum</em>&nbsp;dedicated entirely to Dumas&#39; work. &quot;Dumas continued to set us up for the loneliness, aloneness, and desperation, sometimes even desolation. But he never leaves us there. With him as our guide, we&#39;re always brought through to a better place.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p><strong>&#39;Part Invitation, Part Consolation&#39;</strong></p><p>By the time Dumas died, just a few of his poems and short stories had been published in small literary journals, geared toward a black audience. Writers and critics who knew him say he would have followed the uphill trajectory of his friends &mdash; including Robert Pinsky and Baraka &mdash; had he lived.</p><p>&quot;I think he would&#39;ve been a lot more famous in some respects if he had been able to live and write for 50 more years,&quot; says Smethurst, the University of Massachusetts professor. &quot;What if Toni Morrison had died after she wrote&nbsp;<em>The Bluest Eye&nbsp;</em>and only had a few stories?&quot;</p><p>In fact, Morrison played a role in inspiring what Smethurst calls the &quot;cult&quot; of Dumas. She first encountered Dumas in the form of a slim collection published posthumously by Southern Illinois University, where he taught an experimental program during the last year of his life. Then an editor at Random House and the author of&nbsp;<em>The Bluest Eye</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Sula</em>,&nbsp;Morrison was struck by the circumstances of Dumas&#39; death and wanted to publish more of his writing.</p><p><img alt="Dumas, when he was a high school student in New York." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/dumas-teen_custom-90683d6bd20dbed852889b91760df7de33f10263-s200-c85.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 374px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Dumas, when he was a high school student in New York. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></p><p>Random House had recently committed itself to publishing more minority writers. Through her position there, Morrison would shepherd through the work of several of the era&#39;s most notable black writers and activists, from Toni Cade Bambara and Gayle Jones to Angela Davis and Huey P. Newton.</p><div id="res437323230"><div><div><p>But she knew that generating attention for Dumas, a writer who was not only practically unknown but also deceased, would not be easy. To create hype for the collections she wanted to release &mdash; a book of poetry titled&nbsp;<em>Play Ebony Play Ivory</em>&nbsp;and a short story collection called&nbsp;Ark of Bones&nbsp;&mdash; Morrison organized a release event with a glamorous guest list comprising the most renowned black writers of the time.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;He was thirty-three years old when he was killed,&quot; Morrison wrote in the announcement for the party, a note that was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/magazine/the-radical-vision-of-toni-morrison.html&amp;assetType=nyt_now?&amp;assetType=nyt_now">described</a>&nbsp;as &quot;part invitation, part consolation&quot; in a recent&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>&nbsp;profile of Morrison. &quot;But in those thirty-three years he had completed work the quality and quantity of which are almost never achieved in several lifetimes.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;Creative Writing Slave&#39;</strong></p><p>In 1934, Dumas was born to Appliance Porter, a 19-year-old housekeeper in Sweet Home, Ark., a small town just outside Little Rock. His father, Henry Dumas Sr., or &quot;Big Henry&quot; as he was called, was largely absent from the life of his son, and his mother worked long hours. With his parents often away, Dumas spent much of his time in the fields where his aunts and uncles picked cotton, milked cows and shared stories.</p><p>While his cousins were busy playing sports, Dumas&#39; family recalled to Dumas biographer Jeffrey B. Leak, he preferred to spend his time examining insects or developing skits in which he played all the roles. When Dumas was 10, he and his family followed the course taken by thousands of other black families during the first part of the 20th century by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/books/review/Oshinsky-t.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">moving north</a>. Dumas brought with him to Harlem an intellectual curiosity that impressed his teachers at his integrated Manhattan high school.</p><div id="res437333283"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Dumas and his wife, Loretta Dumas (Ponton), on their wedding day." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/dumas-wedding_custom-4f5433a2c1f2996ce38b97100e8f654f52d11178-s200-c85.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left; height: 366px; width: 300px;" title="Dumas and his wife, Loretta Dumas Ponton, on their wedding day. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><div><p>It may have been there that Dumas&#39; individual struggles became part of a more complex struggle: one in which black people searched for belonging in spaces where they were neither warmly welcomed nor explicitly barred. It&#39;s unclear when he began to take up writing seriously, but his move to a more racially diverse environment may have had something to do with it. Beneath his senior photo in the 1953 High School of Commerce yearbook someone &mdash; perhaps even Dumas himself &mdash; chose to inscribe this description of him: &quot;Creative writing slave.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>After a brief stint at the City University of New York that ended with what Leak notes might have been &quot;a crisis of confidence,&quot; Dumas joined the U.S. Air Force within a year of his high school graduation. Tours of Saudi Arabia and Mexico deepened his interest in sketching worlds that blurred black-and-white interpretations of race.</p><p>At the age of 21, Dumas returned to the U.S., in 1955, and married Loretta Ponton, a beautiful young secretary he had met by chance on a snowy evening on the street in New York just before enlisting. The daughter of a Baptist deacon, Loretta held strong Christian values and a traditional sense of familial responsibility. While Dumas shared her beliefs during the early years of their marriage, he would veer from them in coming years.</p><p>One of just a few black students at Rutgers University, where Dumas studied from 1958 to 1965 and where the couple&#39;s two sons were born, Dumas&#39; commitment to his writing, curiosities about the Nation of Islam, engagement with the civil rights movement, plus alcohol and drug use began to drive a wedge between him and Loretta.</p><p>He also had several affairs with white women. Lois Wright (nee Silber), with whom he had an affair that lasted three years, recalled in a letter to Dumas&#39; friend and fellow poet Jay Wright (whom she would later marry) that the two could only venture out to select spots in New York; the jazz clubs Dumas frequented weren&#39;t welcoming to Wright, and she resented Dumas&#39; friends for referring to her as &quot;the white chick.&quot;</p><p>&quot;For Dumas, crossing racial divides represented possibility and opportunity for both himself as a black man, but also from an imaginative standpoint,&quot; Leak, whose biography of Dumas,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Man-Life-Henry-Dumas/dp/0820328707">Visible Man</a>, came out last year, said in an interview. &quot;I think he thought that if you can cross boundaries in the social realm, then you can cross other boundaries in the literary realm. In both spaces, he found it to be even more complicated than he had anticipated.&quot;</p><p>Dumas explores those complexities in &quot;Will The Circle Be Unbroken?,&quot; a short story in which three white musicians and critics want to enter a black jazz club, arguing they should be let in because they know a lot about the genre. The black patrons finally agree to let them in, but warn that use of an ancient, rare horn may be too intense for their &quot;uninitiated&quot; ears. The music &quot;vibrated the freedom of freedom&quot; for its black listeners, but when the set ends, consternation rises when the three white people are found dead. They had been slain by music that wasn&#39;t meant for them.</p><div id="res443129714"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="From left: Henry Dumas, William G. Davis and Eugene B. Redmond in 1967, during their tenure as teacher-counselors at the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/24/dumas-orange_custom-0e395d04cd38d945d99b93cdc8a25b20aeaee5b9-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 448px; width: 600px;" title="From left: Henry Dumas, William G. Davis and Eugene B. Redmond in 1967, during their tenure as teacher-counselors at the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><p>For many, the story offers a look at some of the central questions of the civil rights movement: What did it mean to be black? How could black identity adapt to an integrated world? What racial boundaries should remain unbroken?</p></div></div><p>In an essay on the story for a 1988 issue of the&nbsp;<em>Black American Literary Forum</em>&nbsp;dedicated to Dumas&#39; work, an acquaintance of Dumas&#39; put it this way: &quot;Black people had a feeling of always being on stage for white folks.&quot; Dumas&#39; story on the jazz club held that the work of black artists should be guarded and protected, a notion that still resonates in a world where it&#39;s been said many times that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/emaoconnor/rue-just-perfectly-defined-cultural-appropriation">black cultural products are valued while black lives are not</a>.</p><p>www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4On no one, perhaps, has Dumas made a greater impression than Eugene Redmond. An&nbsp;<a href="http://eugenebredmond.com/home/">accomplished poet</a>&nbsp;in his own right, Redmond has spent the past four decades editing and promoting the work of Dumas, even though the two men knew one another for only just under a year. Redmond met Dumas when the older writer came to teach English at an experimental college at the University of Southern Illinois in Redmond&#39;s hometown of East St. Louis in 1967. &quot;We bonded quickly,&quot; Redmond told me in a phone interview from the house of Loretta, Dumas&#39; widow.</p><p>The 77-year-old has served for decades as the literary executor of Dumas&#39; estate and was staying with Loretta for an annual commemoration of Dumas&#39; life and work that he helps organize every year on the anniversary of the shooting. Bringing together Dumas&#39; friends and family over poetry readings and jazz performances, Redmond, a Pushcart Prize recipient and the author of 25 books of poetry, has carried the torch for Dumas alongside his own teaching and writing career.</p><p>&quot;Every time I stepped into a classroom after I met him, I had a turntable,&quot; said Redmond, who said he picked up on Dumas&#39; tradition of playing music 15 minutes before each of his classes began. &quot;Every class that I taught, I published the students in a spiral-bound or saddle-stitched booklet. I got that from him.&quot; Redmond fondly recalls eating raw honey and listening to jazz with Dumas, to whom he attributes his love of some of the era&#39;s greatest musicians, from Miles Davis to John Coltrane. &quot;At the time,&quot; Redmond said, &quot;he seemed to be at the farthest most forward point of what black expression, black culture, and black people were all about.&quot;</p><p>In his day-to-day life, Dumas insisted on making space for himself &mdash; and forcing others to acknowledge his right to exist. &quot;He would even walk around East St. Louis and other places, and ask, &#39;Do you see me? Feel my arm. I&#39;m here, ain&#39;t I?&#39;&quot; said Leak, who conducted many interviews with those close to Dumas for his book. &quot;His point was: We&#39;re not invisible. The idea is a direct corollary to Black Lives Matter, the idea that flesh and blood do matter, and we&#39;re going to insist on being seen and being heard.&quot;</p><p>Redmond hopes the Black Lives Matter movement will help introduce Dumas to a whole new audience and help bolster the foundation that the movement rests upon. &quot;You gotta have someplace to come from before you know where you&#39;re going,&quot; he says.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/10/01/433229181/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-by-cops-then-he-was-killed-by-a-cop"><em>via NPR&#39;s Code Switch</em></a></p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-cops-then-he-was-killed-cop-113143 Pope Francis inspires black Catholics, despite complicated church history on race http://www.wbez.org/news/pope-francis-inspires-black-catholics-despite-complicated-church-history-race-113040 <p><div id="res442518676"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Pope Francis talks with a group of children in the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, in El Cobre, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/ap_900392557123-fca892f9ced92ed3068ee67f6db824e9a4c0ecfc-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 600px;" title="Pope Francis talks with a group of children in the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, in El Cobre, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. (Tony Gentile/AP)" /></div><div><p>Every time Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners, embraces an orphan, speaks of social justice and &quot;the least of these,&quot; it reflects the Catholic Church as I would like it to be, the church of the Scriptures. Pope Francis has not altered doctrine or dogma; yet words and deeds have their own kind of power. His U.S. itinerary includes stops at a Harlem school and a Philadelphia correctional facility. It&#39;s a visit that may bring me closer to a faith that has not always been so welcoming to black Catholics like me.</p></div></div><p>&quot;I think Pope Francis&#39; message is a challenging one for the kinds of Catholics we have here in America, who have bought into a kind of Evangelicalism which isn&#39;t Catholicism,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sas.upenn.edu/religious_studies/faculty/butler">Anthea Butler,</a>&nbsp;Associate Professor of Religion and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. &quot;I think it rings true for black Catholics because of his focus on justice, poverty, and liberation.&quot;</p><p>It certainly rings true for someone like me who sees being Catholic as an essential part of being myself. When you are baptized with the name your late grandmother carried, Mary Cecelia, Catholic is with you before you learn the rosary or make your first Communion. But being&nbsp;black&nbsp;and Catholic &mdash; something I never thought much about in my early years &mdash; means inheriting a complicated legacy.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8675971548_7872e01a16_z.jpg" style="height: 445px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Exterior of the Holy Angel Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side. It is the city's largest black Catholic church. There are more than 2,000 church members. The Church also had the largest black Catholic school in the nation, with over 1,300 students. (U.S. National Archives/John H.White)" /></p><p>In my home state of Maryland, which was colonized as a refuge for persecuted Catholics, the faith was locked in for many enslaved African-Americans, beginning in the 17th&nbsp;century, a custom that extended to other parts of the young country. &quot;Many enslaved Africans became Catholic if imported through New Orleans under French rule &#39;code noir,&#39;&quot; Butler explains, &quot;which required slaves purchased to be baptized in the Catholic Church within seven days of purchase.&quot;</p><p>For centuries, not only did the Catholic Church bless slaveholders, in some cases, it joined their ranks.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.udayton.edu/directory/artssciences/religiousstudies/moore_cecilia.php">Cecilia Moore</a>&nbsp;is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, a Catholic research university in Ohio. Moore, herself an African-American Catholic, has researched black Catholic history and has taught at Xavier University of Louisiana&#39;s Institute for Black Catholic Studies. She notes that religious orders like the Jesuits ignored church law on slavery, and held slaves themselves, who worked as servants and on the community&#39;s farms.</p><div id="res442554435"><div data-crop-type="">Despite&nbsp;<a href="http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/publications/in-supremo-apostolatus-apostolic-letter-condemning-the-slave-trade">Pope Gregory&#39;s 1839 condemnation of the slave trade,</a>&nbsp;Catholic loyalties in the Civil War often split along regional lines, with the archbishop of New York John Hughes supporting the Union and consulting with President Abraham Lincoln, while the Charleston, S.C., bishop Patrick Neeson Lynch, was sent by Jefferson Davis to meet with Pope Pius IX in a failed attempt to get him to recognize the Confederacy.</div><div data-crop-type="">&nbsp;</div><div data-crop-type="">To be sure, the church could also be a force for equality in America, from the work of Mother Katharine Drexel (now a saint) in funding and founding black Catholic schools and parishes in the late 19th&nbsp;and early 20th&nbsp;centuries, to the actions of North Carolina Bishop Vincent Waters to integrate schools and churches in 1953, a year before the Supreme Court&#39;s Brown v. Board of Education decision.</div><div data-crop-type="">&nbsp;</div><div data-crop-type="">That spirit of inclusion was not something the larger church always embraced, even on Sunday mornings. &quot;Segregation in the Catholic church was prevalent, especially during the Jim Crow era,&quot; says Butler. African-Americans were often forced to sit in separate sections of churches and barred from altar service or taking communion. &quot;We still have people who have living memory of the ways in which they were segregated in worship,&quot; says Moore. Still, many black religious and lay leaders never lost their faith or activism, with black church organizations offering support throughout the church&#39;s history in America.</div></div><p>Religion and politics, while never separate, became as tangled as they could be in Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s &ndash; a time of turmoil and tension to spare. This is when the Church&#39;s complicated history with race became part of my own story. I remember the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/27/obituaries/lawrence-cardinal-shehan-dies-retired-archbishop-of-baltimore.html">heroism of Lawrence Cardinal Shehan</a>, Archbishop of Baltimore &ndash; soft spoken and small in stature &ndash; who demonstrated at the March on Washington, ordered desegregation of schools in the archdiocese in the 1960s, and was jeered when he testified in favor of open housing legislation.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_6409180103.jpg" style="float: left; height: 252px; width: 340px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="In his photo released by the Vatican, Pope Paul VI poses at the Vatican with American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during a private audience, Sept. 18, 1964. With the pontiff and King are Msgr. Paolo Marcinkus of Chicago, who acted as interpreter, and with King is his aide, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, right. (AP Photo/Vatican Photo)" /></p><p>But I also remember how segregation marred Catholic schools, and what that meant to my family in the 1950s and 1960s. My oldest brother passed rigorous entrance exams for Catholic high schools in Baltimore with flying colors. But he never got to attend; priests and school administrators explained that had my brother been white and non-Catholic, he would&#39;ve been accepted. With the persistence of my devout and active Catholic mother, who persevered through her hurt, he was accepted to a Catholic high school in Wilmington, Del., which was integrating. That meant a daily early train commute from Baltimore to Wilmington, about an hour one way; he never missed a day and graduated with high honors, second in the class.</p><div id="res442550096"><aside><blockquote><div><p><strong><em>&quot;We still have people who have living memory of the ways in which they were segregated in worship.&quot; -Cecilia Moore, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton</em></strong></p></div></blockquote></aside></div><p>Just a few years later, things had changed...somewhat. When I graduated from an all-black grade school, taught by the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oblatesisters.com/history.html">Oblate Sisters of Providence</a>, a black order of nuns founded in Baltimore in 1829 to teach children who looked like me, I passed those tests, just as my brother had, and was allowed to enter an all-girls Catholic high school where I was in a definite minority.</p><p>I developed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/we-are-the-girls-from-seton-high">lasting friendships&nbsp;</a>and survived occasional clashes with white girls from other parts of the city as we worked through petty kid stuff as well as more serious racial resentments that threatened to trump carefully learned lessons of Catholic charity. I found refuge with the other newspaper geeks and Sister Mary Augustine who welcomed anyone willing to write or edit a story. In my senior year, I shared editor duties with a white classmate who is still a friend.</p><p><img alt="Writer Mary C. Curtis in her fourth grade school picture from St. Pius V school in Baltimore, Md." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/catholicschoolgirlpix_vert-142a1b95059a03d9c2bffd204ae226bc972319b0-s400-c85.jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 300px; width: 225px;" title="Writer Mary C. Curtis in her fourth-grade school picture from St. Pius V school in Baltimore, Md. (Courtesy of Mary Curtis)" /></p><p>The teachers were often the bigger problem. The day I registered for classes, the nun in charge looked at my face, and pulled my mom and me aside halfway through the process. It never occurred to her that the Mary Cecelia whose test scores put her in honors courses could look like me. She explained that while I qualified for gifted classes, I might want to start in a lower group until I could handle more advanced work. After exchanging looks, my mother and I assured her I would be fine. That nun, who later would become my honors algebra teacher, remained bewildered by my success. &quot;Are other people in your family smart?&quot; she&#39;d ask me.</p><p>The Church has come a long way since my childhood, even before Pope Francis. In 2010, when the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/08/17/for-black-catholic-women-gathering-is-like-cpr-for-the-spirit/">National Gathering for Black Catholic Women</a>&nbsp;met in Charlotte, N.C, where I now live, hundreds of women traveled from across the country for fellowship dedicated to &quot;remaining Catholic while remaining authentically black,&quot; as one attendee put it. My sister &ndash; following my mother&#39;s example &mdash; was one of them. She worships at a predominantly black parish in Baltimore that was all-white in my childhood and changed with the neighborhood. Now, with a black pastor, the vibrant services incorporate soulful music and praise dance.</p><p>Worldwide, the black Catholic Church is changing, too. According to the&nbsp;<a href="http://nbccongress.org/black-catholics/worldwide-count-black-catholics-01.asp">National Black Catholic Congress</a>, Catholics of African descent represent almost 25 percent of the one billion Roman Catholics throughout the world in more than 59 countries.</p><p>At Cecilia Moore&#39;s predominantly black parish in Dayton, many of the younger parishioners are from Ghana, with others from Nigeria and Rwanda. &quot;We&#39;re getting older, and the young people of African descent tend to be immigrants and the children of immigrants,&quot; she says, noting that the number of white American Catholics has long been in decline. &quot;When we take a picture of the U.S. Catholic Church, it&#39;s going to be very black and brown,&quot; Moore explains, adding that the U.S. church is increasingly dependent on foreign-born priests &mdash; maybe from Africa, India, the Philippines or Ireland. &quot;America is kind of a mission again.&quot;</p><p>So, you could say Pope Francis is doing missionary work, recognizing that the church needs to embrace members of color to survive. Or maybe he&#39;s just getting back to basics. &quot;He has the common touch, that is the ability to relate to people, to be with people to enjoy their company, to listen to them,&quot; says Moore. &quot;It feels so relatable and relational; every time he does that he reminds all of us that the church is so much wider than what we think we know it is. ... He surprises us.&quot;</p><p>Pope Francis&#39; message has surprised me. He looks to the future of the church by sharing a message that harkens back to the small and inclusive world that once made me feel very much at home in church. Even from a distance, I will be listening.</p><p><em>Mary C. Curtis is a journalist in Charlotte, N.C. She has worked at the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Charlotte Observer, as a national correspondent for Politics Daily and was a contributor to The Washington Post. Follow her on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/mcurtisnc3">Twitter</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/09/22/442509427/pope-francis-inspires-black-catholics-despite-complicated-church-history-on-race?ft=nprml&amp;f=442509427"><em> via NPR&#39;s Code Switch</em></a></p></p> Wed, 23 Sep 2015 10:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pope-francis-inspires-black-catholics-despite-complicated-church-history-race-113040 A new book recounts the forgotten history of autism http://www.wbez.org/news/science/new-book-recounts-forgotten-history-autism-113006 <p><p>In&nbsp;<u><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/books/review/neurotribes-by-steve-silberman.html?_r=0">NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity</a>,</u> Silberman takes us back to Vienna before World War II, where he introduces us to a young doctor named&nbsp;Hans Asperger.</p><p>In the 1930s, Asperger was already studying what he believed to be a widespread condition among the children of his day &mdash; a mostly heritable condition composed of a whole spectrum of symptoms.</p><p>&ldquo;Asperger was an extremely visionary and humane clinician,&rdquo; Silberman says. &ldquo;His clinic was not just the sort of place where parents would bring their children for evaluation and a diagnosis, but it was also like a residential school.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Hans%20Asperger%20with%20patient.jpg" style="height: 338px; width: 600px; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px;" title="Hans Asperger and children at the University of Vienna, 1930s. (Courtesy of Dr. Maria Asperger Felder)" /></div><p>Asperger and his colleagues lived with the children they treated. They held classes each day, like geometry or history. They had PE classes with music in the mornings. They designed an environment, Silberman says, that would &ldquo;both allow the clinicians to observe the children very closely, but also allow the children to become more comfortable with themselves and with each other. ...&nbsp;It was a very, very humane environment and way ahead of its time in that way.&rdquo;</p><p>More importantly, Asperger&rsquo;s ideas about autism were decades ahead of their time, Silberman says. Asperger and his colleagues conceived of autism as a lifelong condition, lasting from birth to death, requiring special forms of support from family, teachers and the community.</p><p>What Asperger described &quot;was mapped pretty closely to what we now call the &#39;autism spectrum,&#39;&quot; Silberman says.&nbsp;Some children, he observed, were unable to speak and might require individual support for the rest of their lives, while others would thrive in advanced classes in math and science.</p><p>The rise of Nazi Germany disrupted&nbsp;Asperger&rsquo;s work and changed the course of autism diagnosis and treatment for much of the rest of the 20th century.</p><p>By the late 1930s, when the Nazis annexed Austria to Germany, they had also started passing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/feb/06/race.usa">eugenic laws</a>, which compelled doctors, nurses and clinicians to report disabled children to Berlin.</p><p>&ldquo;In fact, the Nazis eventually undertook a secret extermination program of disabled children and adults as part of their effort to purge the gene pool of hereditary forms of illness,&rdquo; Silberman explains. &ldquo;This program became the dry run for the Holocaust. [It]&nbsp;was where the Nazis developed methods of mass murder that they would eventually use on the Jews.&rdquo;</p><p>In addition, Jewish clinicians were forced to flee the country. One of them&nbsp;was George Frankl, Asperger&#39;s chief diagnostician. Frankl was rescued from the Holocaust by an American child psychiatrist named Leo Kanner. Frankl started working for Kanner in 1938.</p><p>Donald Triplett also arrived in Leo Kanner&#39;s world in 1938. Triplett is considered Leo Kanner&#39;s first autistic patient. But initially, Kanner didn&#39;t know what to do with him. &ldquo;He had seen some of these symptoms before in children &mdash; that he called pre-psychotic &mdash; but he basically wasn&#39;t able to make a diagnosis. So, he sent Donald Triplett to George Frankl for evaluation,&rdquo; Silberman says.</p><p>Having just spent 11 years working in Asperger&#39;s clinic, seeing scores of autistic children at all levels of ability, Frankl understood Triplett. In fact, Frankl evaluated Kanner&#39;s first three autistic patients.</p><p>Then, in 1943, a year before Asperger published the results of his own work, Kanner wrote the paper that made him the world&#39;s leading authority on autism.</p><p>&ldquo;The problem for autistic people and their families was that Kanner defined autism much more narrowly than Asperger had done,&rdquo; Silberman explains. &ldquo;For one thing, he called it &lsquo;early infantile autism,&rsquo; so it was definitely a condition of early infancy, not a lifelong condition.&rdquo;</p><p>What&rsquo;s more, Kanner eventually blamed parents for triggering autism in their children. &ldquo;The image of the &lsquo;refrigerator mother&rsquo; came from Kanner&#39;s work,&rdquo; Silberman says. &ldquo;Bruno Bettelheim sort of made a career out of it later, but it was really Kanner who thought up that horrible idea.&rdquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pbs.org/pov/refrigeratormothers/fridge.php">&lsquo;Refrigerator mother&rsquo;</a>&nbsp;refers to the mothering of autistic children by cold, emotionally distant mothers, resulting in a dysfunctional mother-child relationship.</p><p>Because Kanner and his colleagues&nbsp;viewed the disorder largely in emotional and psychological terms, the recommended course of treatment for autism became institutionalization. By contrast, Asperger believed the disorder was genetic and therefore had to be adapted to, not cured.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NeuroTribes-cover-300.jpg" style="margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: right; height: 453px; width: 300px;" title="NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and The Future of Neurodiversity, cover (Penguin Publishing)" /></p><p>In addition, Asperger understood &lsquo;autistic intelligence,&rsquo; Silberman says &mdash; that is, the &ldquo;bold suggestion that autistic people have played an unappreciated role in the evolution of culture.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Asperger always appreciated that autism was a condition that conveyed both profound disabilities and very special gifts,&rdquo; Silberman says. &ldquo;Kanner, on the other hand, interpreted even the gifts of his patients through the lens of psychopathology. He thought, for instance, that one of the kids in his clinic who could instantly identify 18 symphonies before he turned two, was just trying to impress his parents in a kind of desperate plea for their affection.&rdquo;</p><p>Silberman believes the world can and should adapt to meet the needs of autistic people, in the way we have done for people with physical disabilities.</p><p>&ldquo;We can make a cognitively accessible world by, say, presenting lessons and curricula in different formats for visual or audio learners,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We can provide quiet spaces in schools so that kids who are facing a meltdown from sensory overloaded can go chill out. We can do autism-friendly performances on Broadway, which have already been a fantastic success &mdash; with less pyrotechnics and social stories beforehand so the kids don&rsquo;t get surprised.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We know how to deal with disability,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We just have to rise to the challenge, instead of thinking that we can make autism go away if we throw enough money at it.&rdquo;</p><p><em>This article is based on an&nbsp;<a href="http://sciencefriday.com/segment/09/04/2015/the-forgotten-history-of-autism.html">interview</a>&nbsp;that aired on PRI&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://sciencefriday.com/">Science Friday</a>&nbsp;with Ira Flatow.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-09-20/new-book-recounts-forgotten-history-autism">via ScienceFriday</a></em></p></p> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 11:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/new-book-recounts-forgotten-history-autism-113006 Nice pipes: The inner workings of Buckingham Fountain http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/nice-pipes-inner-workings-buckingham-fountain-112844 <p><p>San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. For New York City, it&rsquo;s the Statue of Liberty. Chicago? It&rsquo;s got Buckingham Fountain, an icon that mingles water, multi-colored lights, and granite, as well as bronze and pink georgia marble. Not to mention a jet that sprays water to seemingly impossible heights.</p><p>The fountain&rsquo;s wow factor has entranced questioner Alan Ireland, an HVAC contractor and a self-described &ldquo;pump guy.&rdquo; While growing up in Chicago, he wondered how the fountain works and heard lore of a hidden engineer who kept the displays going. Combined, those led him to ask Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>I hear that Buckingham Fountain is run off of one individual pump and that there is one employee whose responsibility it is to keep the fountain running. Is that true?</em></p><p>Well, we got enough special access to answer Alan&rsquo;s question about the fountain&rsquo;s inner-workings, but as we learned more about the history, we also encountered a fascinating backstory about how Chicago came to have this grand landmark in the first place. Here&rsquo;s a hint: The fountain was a compromise &mdash; a way to establish a public lakefront without creating too much clutter.</p><p>But first ...</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">What does it take to make Buckingham Fountain tick?</span></p><p>When I ask Alan to describe the childhood legends he&rsquo;d heard, he says, &ldquo;This might come out really wrong, but like the troll under the bridge that keeps the bridge going or whatever. That sounds terrible. ... Let&rsquo;s call it the lighthouse keeper!&rdquo;</p><p>Instead of the proverbial troll under the bridge, we find tall, blue-eyed Eric Kelmar, an assistant chief engineer for the <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/clarence-f-buckingham-memorial-fountain/">Chicago Park District</a>. He manages the team of about five engineers who tend to Buckingham Fountain. Kelmar explains that due to the high priority of site, &ldquo;We try to keep it to a small family of people who operate it daily.&rdquo;</p><p>Every morning, from April 1 through mid-October, one of Kelmar&rsquo;s team throws on a pair of waders and pulls out any debris that birds may have lodged in the fountain&rsquo;s screens and baskets overnight.</p><p>Then, at 8:00 a.m., the engineer manually starts up the fountain. An hour later, the first water-show begins. Kelmar says the fountain&rsquo;s center jet can shoot water as high as 150 feet in the air, depending on wind conditions. That&rsquo;s 15 stories.</p><p>How many pumps does it take to pull that off?</p><p>Kelmar takes me down into Buckingham Fountain&rsquo;s underground pump room, which has three big pumps, each one being <em>original</em> 1927 DeLaval hardware. Their combined power totals 575 horsepower. (For context, a car in 1927 ran on 25 horsepower. Today, the average Toyota Corolla has approximately 140 horsepower.)</p><p>Kelmar says these old pumps require TLC, but they are built to last. &ldquo;Five years ago, we had them completely pulled out of the pump house and rewound, and they said there&#39;s no reason to replace [them],&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They were well-built and, with the new upgrades, they could last another 100 years.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="424" id="iframe" scrolling="no" src="//flickrit.com/slideshowholder.php?height=414&amp;width=620&amp;size=medium&amp;speed=stop&amp;count=8&amp;setId=72157657768098549&amp;caption=on&amp;counter=true&amp;credit=1&amp;theme=1&amp;thumbnails=0&amp;transition=0&amp;layoutType=fixed&amp;sort=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>No planned obsolescence here. In fact, Kelmar says that if they were to replace the original pumps, they would need about 24 modern pumps to do the same job.</p><p>In the past, the fountain&rsquo;s pumps were operated manually. Two engineers would alternate 12 hour shifts: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can still see the original bronze levers they used to control those pumps upstairs in the fountain&rsquo;s control room.</p><p>The fountain&rsquo;s light-show was also analog. The engineer would improvise each show on a complicated light board, littered with dozens of dimmers and switches. Chicago Park District historian Julia Bachrach explains that the engineer&rsquo;s creative decisions were not well-received.</p><p>&ldquo;In 1932, there were complaints that the engineer had garish taste and that he didn&#39;t know how to mix the colors properly to make a beautiful light show,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;So they brought in a theatrical lighting designer to help kind of create a program.&rdquo;</p><p>The light system went automatic in 1968 and, according to Bachrach, the fountain was computerized in 1980. The fountain&rsquo;s first computer was a Honeywell system which, from 1983 to 1994, was run out of a Honeywell office in Atlanta, Georgia. Later, the computer was moved to the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, before operations came full circle to the fountain&rsquo;s own control room. Today the fountain runs on an Allen-Bradley Programmable Logic Controller.</p><p>But, you can still override the system with the flip of a switch. Kelmar shows me the control panel, which sports an array of labeled switches: &ldquo;SEA HORSES,&rdquo; &ldquo;MUSHROOMS,&rdquo; &ldquo;ISOLATED JETS,&rdquo; and &ldquo;INNER TOP BOWL.&quot;</p><p>Opting for the seahorses, of course, I throw the switch from &ldquo;auto&rdquo; to &ldquo;off&rdquo; and, after a 13-second delay, the valves in the fountain&rsquo;s seahorses close. A loud sound emanates from the pump room below our feet and (voila!) the seahorses stop spitting. After a moment, the computer catches up, and the seahorses on the system&rsquo;s display change from green to red.</p><p>I quickly flip the switch back before any tourists get agitated. I wouldn&rsquo;t want to ruin any selfies.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The backstory on why the fountain&rsquo;s so grand</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/grant%20park%201906.jpg" style="height: 286px; width: 620px;" title="Grant Park pictured in 1906, before the area was beautified. (Library of Congress)" /></p><p>The fountain&rsquo;s pumps were built to last, but they were also built to impress. But ... impress whom? And why? Bachrach says it&rsquo;s important to understand what was in Grant Park before 1927, when Buckingham Fountain was completed. To set the scene, she explains that the area was mostly ash, trash and debris. &ldquo;For years and years, there was this raw, kind of landfill, just flat dirt terrain,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>The public debated what to do with this eyesore. Some people wanted to erect a massive building that celebrated everything splendid and grand. Inspired by the extravagant French <a href="http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage">Palace of Versailles</a>, this faction craved a building that would truly establish Grant Park as the seat of architectural excellence.</p><p>Mail-order magnate Montgomery Ward opposed such a building. Ward was a major entrepreneur and, like Chicago&rsquo;s founding fathers, he felt the city&rsquo;s lakefront should remain <a href="https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1050707081">&ldquo;Forever Open, Clear, &amp; Free.&rdquo;</a> Plus, his office had a great view of the lake.</p><p>In 1909 Ward got his way, and architect Edward Bennett began building a compromise. Bachrach says Bennett must have asked himself, &ldquo;If you couldn&#39;t have the palace of Versailles as the visual focal point for the park, what would you do?&rdquo; According to Bachrach, Bennett &ldquo;created what was then believed to be the world&#39;s largest fountain ... inspired by a beautiful fountain at Versailles.&rdquo; (That fountain is <a href="http://latone.chateauversailles.fr/en/page/the-latona-fountain/history-of-the-latona-fountain">the Latona Basin</a>, to be precise. And Buckingham Fountain is about twice its size.)</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/BuckinghamArchival%28JB%29%281%29%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Buckingham Fountain in construction before its opening in 1927. (Photo courtesy Chicago Park District)" /></div><p>Bennett had found the perfect balance; his fountain would celebrate the architectural grandeur that was in vogue at the time, without obstructing the view of the lakefront. But he had a problem: Taxpayers would not fund such an opulent project, no matter how unobtrusive its design. So Bennett approached philanthropist Kate Buckingham, whom Bachrach describes as a real character.</p><p>&ldquo;She was known for being very sort of cavalier,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;She was a woman who would speak her mind. I&#39;ve heard she didn&#39;t mind using bad language occasionally.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kate buckingham.jpg" style="height: 376px; width: 250px; float: right;" title="Kate Buckingham, 1930. (The Art Institute of Chicago)" /></div><p>Buckingham&rsquo;s family had made a fortune in grain elevators and she was the last remaining heir. Bachrach says that Buckingham asked Bennett and his team how much the fountain would cost. According to Bachrach, Bennett gave an estimate of about $300,000.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Ever the generous woman, Buckingham decided to fund the fountain and to name it in memory of her late brother, Clarence. She liked the idea of building a beautiful, democratic space where everyone from secretaries to executives could come eat their lunches, chitchat and enjoy the lake.</div><p>Bennett&rsquo;s final design was meant to celebrate Lake Michigan, with one bronze seahorse for each of the four states bordering the lake. All of the bronze work was done by an up-and-coming French sculptor named Marcel Loyau, who was later awarded the <em>Prix National</em>, a prestigious French art award, for designing the fountain&rsquo;s sculptural elements.</p><p>Clearly, construction wasn&rsquo;t cheap. &ldquo;By the time all was said and done, she donated slightly over a million dollars,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;Which included $750,000 to build the fountain and a $300,000 endowment.&rdquo; (All told, this adds up to more than <a href="http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm">$13 million in today&rsquo;s figures</a>.)</p><p>Finally, on August 26, 1927, The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain was ready for the public.</p><p>&ldquo;At the time that it was dedicated, they had a lot of hoopla, they knew this was a big deal,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;John Philip Sousa&#39;s orchestra played <em>Pomp and Circumstance</em>. ... Tens of thousands of Chicagoans gathered, they say 50,000. ... And, of course, Kate Buckingham was in attendance.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Does the fountain still captivate?</span></p><p>Buckingham Fountain made quite the impression on the citizens of Chicago. A week after the dedication, a <em><a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1927/09/04/page/1/article/fountain-adds-new-beauty-to-chicagos-life/index.html">Chicago Tribune</a></em> columnist waxed poetic:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;In a week the Buckingham fountain has captured the imagination of the town, enlarged its aesthetic sense, and done it spiritual good. &nbsp;&hellip; It is the lyric of the lake. It will never grow old or commonplace.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>But, almost 100 years later, does Buckingham Fountain still capture the city&rsquo;s imagination?</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FlP2aTqkJas?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>It&rsquo;s certainly Chicago&rsquo;s calling card. If there&rsquo;s an establishing shot of the Windy City in a film or <a href="https://youtu.be/FlP2aTqkJas?t=4m32s">a television series</a>, chances are it depicts Buckingham Fountain in the foreground, juxtaposed with Chicago&rsquo;s modern skyline just behind. Pick up <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/4b/c5/74/4bc57416918be23dd90b96a8a5271a41.jpg">a tourist brochure of Chicago</a>, and it&rsquo;s likely that Buckingham Fountain is one of the first images you&rsquo;ll see inside. In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech in Grant Park as throngs of people encircled the fountain to listen to him speak. And, there are more than a few videos floating around the Internet of different flash mobs dancing in front of the fountain before someone inevitably gets down on one knee and pops the question. (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_l7Gf6mEOY">She says yes</a>).</p><p>For an informal survey, I talk to tourists zipping around on segways, a model posing for the camera in a long, white dress, and people cooling off in the fountain&rsquo;s spray. Everyone I talk to is impressed with this place, including Kevin Doerksen, a native Chicagoan who runs a professional tour company. He says that when people visit the city, Buckingham Fountain is on the top of his itinerary, but not necessarily for the site&rsquo;s historical merits. With a shrug, he explains that people want to see the fountain from the opening credits of the nineties sitcom, &lsquo;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8t5cOjlEPU">Married With Children</a>.&rsquo; Inevitably, he says, &ldquo;We always want to come down and see the Al Bundy Memorial Fountain.&rdquo;</p><p>Barabas Shane from Atlanta, Georgia, beams as he snaps a picture of the fountain. &ldquo;We love &lsquo;Married With Children,&rsquo;&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I finally got to see it and it&#39;s real,&rdquo; he gushes. &ldquo;I was like, this couldn&#39;t be real. But this is beautiful.&rdquo;</p><p>As the <em>Tribune</em> writer predicted, it seems Buckingham Fountain has grown neither old nor commonplace, after all.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AlanIreland9-1%28AI%29%281%29.png" style="height: 384px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Curious Citizen Alan Ireland inspired our investigation into fountain and its history. (Courtesy of Alan Ireland)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">Alan Ireland, Curious Citizen</span></p><p>Alan Ireland, 35, grew up in north suburban Libertyville. When Ireland was a kid, his family would frequently take trips into the city. &ldquo;We always made it a point to walk down towards Buckingham Fountain, just to watch all the pumps go,&rdquo; Ireland explains. &ldquo;So it was always just kind of a really cool, neat fountain, cause you don&#39;t see a lot of those in America and the magnitude of it is pretty awesome.&rdquo;</p><p>Ireland&rsquo;s interest in pumps runs in the family. In fact, he oversees operations and sales for the family business, Ireland Heating and Air Conditioning. Ireland explains that his work entails everything from &ldquo;forced air and hot water pumps, water pumps, and things of that nature for both residential and commercial facilities in the northern suburbs.&rdquo;</p><p>But Ireland&rsquo;s curiosity about Buckingham Fountain isn&rsquo;t purely technical. &ldquo;I think the inner workings of the city of Chicago and the backbone and the tunnel systems and everything else that keeps the city running ... &nbsp;It&#39;s just really curious to see the marvels that nobody really looks at or even thinks about on a daily basis.&rdquo;</p><p>Ireland now lives in Chicago&rsquo;s Andersonville neighborhood. In his spare time, he is a member of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association.</p><p><em>Chloe Prasinos is an independent reporter and producer based in Chicago. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/chloeprasinos" target="_blank">@chloeprasinos</a>. </em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Buckingham8-18(AT)(1).jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Alison Troldahl, left, and daughter, Milayna Boswell, right, break from their segway tour to talk with producer Chloe Prasinos, center, about the fountain. They only asked for a selfie in return. (Courtesy of Alison Troldahl)" /></div></p> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/nice-pipes-inner-workings-buckingham-fountain-112844 Are there fallout shelters left in Chicago? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/are-there-fallout-shelters-left-chicago-112688 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/artworks-000126892821-754uuh-t500x500.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Kyle Bolyard&rsquo;s drive to work as a history teacher in suburban Niles, Illinois, takes him past a strange sign. It&rsquo;s planted on the side of a sturdy, brick building owned by the regional wastewater treatment authority.</p><p>&ldquo;I pass this building every single day and at some some point along the way I just kind of noticed it,&rdquo; says Bolyard, 26. &ldquo;It&#39;s a pretty small sign. It&#39;s kind of rusted a little bit. It says &lsquo;fallout shelter on floors one and in basement.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Fallout shelter, as in nuclear fallout following an atomic bomb blast. The symbol on the sign is familiar to Americans who lived through the Cold War: three yellow triangles circumscribed in a circle, pointing down. That sign got Kyle thinking.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I was wondering if there were any nuclear fallout a nuclear blast shelters left in the city of Chicago or the area.</em></p><p>By some estimates there were hundreds of thousands of dedicated fallout shelters built in the 20 years following World War II. We looked for one still standing, and we did find some old shelters. But they&rsquo;re hardly the apocalypse-proof, fully-stocked bunkers that were once ready to weather a bomb blast and weeks-worth of radioactive fallout. Still, these remnants of Cold War-era infrastructure do exist across the city. In fact, buildings that served as fallout shelters are often in places you might not expect.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&lsquo;It was an eerie time.&rsquo;</span></p><p>It feels distant to many people today, but for years the world was gripped with fears of a possible nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Each country stockpiled tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in the decades following World War II, pursuing a strategy of &ldquo;deterrence&rdquo; by bulking up to discourage an attack. Meanwhile the now-defunct Office of Civil &amp; Defense Mobilization (commonly called Civil Defense) focused on preparing Americans for the unthinkable. A lot of people from this era remember <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKqXu-5jw60" target="_blank">Bert the Turtle, who taught a generation of kids to &quot;duck and cover&quot;</a> in the event of a bomb.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BFT8hLjHtuE" width="420"></iframe></p><p>They were worried about two things: the actual blast of an atomic bomb, of course, but also its fallout &mdash; contaminated dust and debris kicked up into the air and rendered radioactive by a nuclear explosion.</p><p>Big, industrial cities like Chicago were considered major targets for a possible nuclear attack. Diane Addams, who grew up in the Woodlawn neighborhood during the 1950s, remembers it as an anxious time.</p><p>&ldquo;It was kind of scary,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;People were buying and making fallout shelters, and trying to find out where we could go if there was an attack and all that kind of stuff. And they had those little signs that were saying that you go here, like in the subway, or certain other areas.&rdquo;</p><p>Addams says those who had the money and a little property could build their own bunkers. As apartment dwellers, her family had to have faith in public shelters.</p><p>&ldquo;It was just an eerie time,&rdquo; says Addams.</p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.9148073022312373" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_99201" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/275207521/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-MfCvfCEg3HkiBdpwfmVj&amp;show_recommendations=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Cold War preparation really got hot in 1961, when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev threatened to cut off Western access to Berlin, <a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/berlin-is-divided" target="_blank">then a divided city</a>. President John F. Kennedy <a href="http://www.presidentialrhetoric.com/historicspeeches/kennedy/berlincrisis.html" target="_blank">addressed the nation, pumping up the Civil Defense budget and urging Americans to prepare</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;In contrast to our friends in Europe, the need for this kind of protection is new to our shores. But the time to start is now,&rdquo; Kennedy said. &ldquo;In the coming months, I hope to let every citizen know what steps he can take without delay to protect his family in case of attack. I know that you will want to do no less.&rdquo;</p><p>Although some historians say the speech was mainly meant to intimidate Khrushchev, one effect was to stoke public anxieties about nuclear war.</p><p>&ldquo;There&#39;s this huge national debate of whether or not to build a shelter. Some magazine called that the question, &lsquo;To dig or not to dig,&rsquo;&rdquo; says Kenneth Rose, a professor at California State University Chico and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/One-Nation-Underground-Fallout-American/dp/0814775233" target="_blank">the book One Nation Underground: The Fallout Shelter in American Culture</a>. &nbsp;&ldquo;Almost every newspaper and every magazine in the country had articles on nuclear war and fallout shelters.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Local response: Cold War conversions</span></p><p>Like many cities across the country, Chicago designated existing structures as public fallout shelters, typically choosing large masonry buildings with windowless basements and thick stone or concrete walls. Federal officials affixed these buildings with reflective metal signs measuring 10 by 14 inches. In Chicago those included public school buildings, <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1976/10/31/page/4/article/display-ad-526-no-title" target="_blank">City Hall</a> and, indeed, the Terrence J. O&#39;Brien Water Reclamation Plant at 3500 W. Howard St. &mdash; the building that inspired Kyle Bolyard&rsquo;s question.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/nuclearshelters/falloutSheltersThumb.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 487px; margin: 5px;" title="Fallout shelter sign posted at 3500 Howard St, Skokie, Illinois. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" /></p><p>Practically every town in America had some sort of public refuge like this, and Chicago had thousands. <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1967/07/13/page/83/article/civil-defense-devises-methods-to-study-home-shelter-potential" target="_blank">In 1967 the Chicago Tribune reported</a> that Cook county had 2,522 public fallout shelters, of which 1,691 were stocked with food and supplies. About three quarters of the county&rsquo;s 5 million people could have fit in the shelters, most of which were downtown, in the Loop.</p><p>Federal Civil Defense officials were responsible for stocking fallout shelters with everything they&rsquo;d need to survive at least two weeks underground. <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1962/10/26/page/8/article/u-s-spending-80-million-for-shelter-stock#text" target="_blank">Nationally the Pentagon spent more than $80 million on supplies</a>, which included bulgur wheat crackers for nutrition, giant drums of water and &ldquo;sanitation kits&rdquo; for personal hygiene.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://docsteach.org/documents/7386473/detail?menu=closed&amp;mode=search&amp;sortBy=relevance&amp;q=primarily+teaching+2015&amp;commit=Go" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/nuclearshelters/0849falloutShelterSupplyInventory.jpg" style="width: 610px; height: 485px; margin: 5px;" title="Supplies suggested for bomb and fallout shelters around the height of the Cold War. (Source: Records of The Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization)" /></a></p><p>None of the agencies that we talked to &mdash; local, county, state, federal &mdash; could say exactly when they stopped checking up on fallout shelters in Chicago, or even what happened to any of the records about how many shelters existed in the area. It just kind of dropped off.</p><p>And by 1963 some survival kits were already deteriorating in storage. <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1963/11/24/page/12/article/civil-defense-kits-in-storage#text" target="_blank">The Tribune reported supplies for 2.2 million people were sitting &ldquo;virtually untouched&rdquo;</a> in federal warehouses at 39th Street &amp; Pershing Road and at O&#39;Hare International Airport. &ldquo;According to records of the federal government, Illinois ranks 50th in the fallout shelter stocking program. Chicago rates at the bottom of the list of metropolitan cities,&rdquo; <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1963/11/24/page/12/article/civil-defense-kits-in-storage" target="_blank">reported David Halvorsen</a>. Just a few dozen of the 3,000 federally approved shelters had been stocked, months or years after they&rsquo;d been designated as public refuges.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Local response: new construction</span></p><p>In some cases, though, the city did more to adapt to Cold War concerns than just slap a fallout shelter sign onto existing buildings and wait for federal supplies &mdash; a fact that becomes apparent during a tour conducted by Larry Langford, spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department. Langford drives me, questioner Kyle, and his wife, Amanda Snyder, around the South Side to see a few fire stations that had their own dedicated fallout shelters.</p><p>&ldquo;Most of the North Side fire houses have been replaced. So we have to, of course, go to old firehouses to find this,&rdquo; says Langford, who remembers Bert the Turtle&rsquo;s &ldquo;duck and cover&rdquo; drills.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="basement of Chicago Fire Department Engine 15, 8028 S. Kedzie Ave" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/nuclearshelters/doorToTheVaultForWeb.jpg" style="width: 600px; margin: 5px;" title="Basement of Chicago Fire Department Engine 15, 8028 S. Kedzie Ave. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" /></p><p>Today the space under Engine 60 in Hyde Park looks like a lot of basements: Firemen use it to store their workout equipment, as well as bicycles they help repair for kids in the neighborhood. During the Cold War, though, the basement had heavy steel doors that could seal in hundreds of people at a time. The shelter also had a generator and a sophisticated air handling system to keep out radioactive debris.</p><p>&ldquo;The walls are very thick concrete designed to withstand all kinds of shock,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>As for a direct hit by an atomic bomb?</p><p>&ldquo;Nothing&#39;s going to withstand that,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>For questioner Kyle Bolyard, the area looks like what he expected: bare concrete walls, big open spaces and dark, twisting corridors.</p><p>&ldquo;You can imagine just rows and rows of cots or bed mats,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It would be really dark and really cramped.&rdquo;</p><p>Snyder adds: &ldquo;I would imagine it would start to smell really bad after a couple hours.&rdquo;</p><p>All of the shelter&rsquo;s supplies were thrown out a long time ago, says Langford, but the structure remains solid.</p><p>&ldquo;We could still use it if we had to,&rdquo; he says.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/nuclearshelters/gasMeterKyle.jpg" style="width: 610px; height: 405px; margin: 5px;" title="Basement of Chicago Fire Department Engine 60, 1150 E. 55th St. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" /></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Local response: private construction</span></p><p>Some patriotic citizens built their own shelters, following the advice of nationally circulated pamphlets and public service announcements preaching vigilance.</p><p>&ldquo;In the event of enemy attack, every item on this list is essential,&rdquo; reads one of the many advertisements placed in Civil Defense literature and popular magazines. Their list includes a personal dosimeter for each member of the family to measure radiation exposure, as well as fire extinguishers, radios, air filters and a toilet for the fallout shelter.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/nuclearshelters/gilhoolyPermit.png" style="width: 610px; height: 348px; margin: 5px;" /></p><p>In 1961 Bernice Gilhooly built Chicago&rsquo;s first publicly authorized, private fallout shelter. <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1961/08/22/page/5/article/county-board-oks-building-bomb-shelter" target="_blank">The Chicago Tribune reported Gilhooly planned to spend $3,500 on her subterranean shelter &mdash; almost $28,000 in today&rsquo;s dollars. But, the secretary and mother of three told the newspaper it was worth it</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Asked if she expected to be the subject of joshing by her neighbors, she said: &#39;I don&#39;t care. A lot of them could look foolish because they didn&#39;t think along the same lines we do.&rdquo; Asked if he planned to build a family shelter, [Mayor Richard J.] Daley replied, &ldquo;After the matter is thoroly [sic] gone over, we will take the necessary steps to protect our family.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>The structure got in the way of property modifications next door, and the shelter was imploded. Today Jim Schaller owns the Bridgeport home, as well as the remains of the bomb shelter.</p><p>&ldquo;It had trundle beds on the wall. It had five gallon glass containers of water. There was a crank to crank air in, air shafts that were sticking out the property next door,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They locked a heavy door, metal door locked on both sides.&rdquo;</p><p>Schaller says he threw out the old supplies. Now he does his laundry by the patched-over drywall that was once home to the shelter&rsquo;s steel vault door. He and his wife never thought to save the shelter, even though they&rsquo;re old enough to remember those anxious days when Cold War missiles were ready to fly.</p><p>&ldquo;It was a novelty is all it was &mdash; a place to put junk,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Another closet.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">What&rsquo;s the use?</span></p><p>In spite of the nation&rsquo;s Cold War preoccupation with preparing for a nuclear attack, many people at the time doubted the shelters&rsquo; effectiveness. They also wondered whether there was any use in preparing for fallout when a blast itself would likely wipe out most Chicagoans before they had a chance to hunker down.</p><p>&ldquo;No other nation, even Russia, is so perturbed about shelters. Could it be that it is propaganda to distract our attention from more immediate problems?&rdquo; <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1961/10/23/page/18/article/bomb-shelter-hysteria" target="_blank">asked &ldquo;E.H.&rdquo; in a 1961 letter to the Tribune</a>. &ldquo;Let us by all means make our homes as safe as possible, but let us not allow &quot;fallout&quot; to become an obsession with us.&rdquo;</p><p>That helps explain why only a minority of Americans built their own shelter. Add that to the fact that an effective shelter could cost about $2,500 (about half of the median family income in 1961), and you have an explanation for why the nation&rsquo;s brief obsession with bomb-proof shelters translated into relatively few structures.</p><p>&ldquo;For a very brief time there was this frenzy of private shelter building. But even the frenzy was only a small number of people. It never really caught on,&rdquo; says Stephen Schwartz, editor of the<em> <a href="http://cns.miis.edu/npr/index.htm" target="_blank">Nonproliferation Review</a> </em>and adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. &ldquo;I think people just sort of resigned themselves to the fact that if this did happen this was all going to be over pretty quickly. It didn&#39;t matter if you were above ground or below &mdash; you were toast.&rdquo;</p><p>That blend of skepticism and fatalism even spread among public officials.</p><p>&ldquo;Someone asked Chicago&#39;s chief Civil Defense administrator what they should do,&rdquo; says Kenneth Rose. &ldquo;And he said, and I quote, &lsquo;Take cover and pray.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Bernard Kelly, who was the Civil Defense Director of suburban Oak Forest during the early and mid-sixties, says he never thought fallout shelters were an effective response. But the exercises of stocking them and practicing drills proved useful when they needed to deploy responses to natural disasters. And, he says, it was reassuring.</p><p>&quot;There was a general Cold War threat that hung over the nation,&rdquo; he says. &quot;And the alternative was to do nothing. It&#39;s not human nature to do nothing.&quot;</p><p>After President Kennedy called for millions of dollars to stock fallout shelters around the country in 1961, Chicago aldermen and <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1961/08/22/page/5/article/county-board-oks-building-bomb-shelter" target="_blank">Cook County commissioners</a> decided to <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1961/08/19/page/9/article/bomb-shelter-rules-set-by-city-council" target="_blank">allow Chicagoans to build their own shelters</a>, in case the public network wasn&rsquo;t enough. A reporter for the <em>Christian Science Monitor </em>was at that meeting:</p><blockquote><p>When aldermen were not harassing the discussion they clipped fingernails are gone towards the ceiling for for the most for the most part paying little attention to the government shelter documents handed them at the beginning of the meeting. Few of them asked to vote for the significant ordinance had ever seen the pertinence data previously. Further indication of the perfunctory action apparently expected of the meeting.</p></blockquote><p>So even at the time, the urgency of the threat varied wildly, depending on who you asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Chicago certainly certainly wasn&#39;t unique here,&rdquo; says Rose. &ldquo;American cities simply were not prepared for a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. And we can all thank our lucky stars that this war didn&#39;t happen.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>(See also: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-nike-missile-sites-around-chicago-105087" target="_blank">How Cold War anti-aircraft missiles were stationed across Chicago</a>)&nbsp;</em></p><p>What about today? The U.S.S.R. is no more, and there are far fewer nuclear warheads around now than during the Cold War. But nuclear war is still a possibility. Should we be stocking up and seeking shelter?</p><p>&ldquo;In my opinion,&rdquo; says Rose, &ldquo;living in fear of nuclear war is no way to live a life. And you know there&#39;s plenty of survivalists out there who have spent a lot of money preparing for this ghastly possibility. But as far as I&#39;m concerned that&rsquo;s wasted money, and a wasted way to live your life.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s easy to see fallout shelters as an historical oddity, and even to laugh at people like Bernice Gilhooly, who spent thousands of dollars preparing for a bomb that never dropped. Today we have our own national anxieties &mdash;&nbsp;about airport security, surveillance, terrorism&nbsp;&mdash; with public programs and private responses just as controversial as was a lot of Cold War culture. Someone born today might look back on one of our <a href="http://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something" target="_blank">&ldquo;if you see something, say something&rdquo; signs</a> with the same curiosity that drew questioner Kyle Bolyard to that rusty placard announcing a fallout shelter on his drive to work.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Meet our questioner: Kyle Bolyard</span></p><p><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/nuclearshelters/kyleBolyardForWeb.jpg" style="width: 330px; height: 248px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="Kyle Bolyard at Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. (Courtesy of Amanda Snyder)" />Kyle and his wife Amanda Snyder both teach at NewHope Academy in Niles. They say they first wondered about fallout shelters in the Chicago area when Kyle teamed up with a literature teacher at NewHope for a humanities class that included a unit on the Cold War. He was hoping to show the class a fallout shelter for a field trip.</p><p>&ldquo;I had them design their own fallout shelter,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Somebody had this huge stack of all the board games they would want to play for weeks &mdash; those kinds of things. A lot of people forgot basic stuff like food and water. But they had games covered.&rdquo;</p><p>Growing up in Edwardsville, Illinois, outside St. Louis, Kyle knew about Nike Missile sites nearby, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-nike-missile-sites-around-chicago-105087" target="_blank">our story about similar sites in Chicago</a> got him wondering about other Cold War infrastructure that might still have echoes today.</p><p>Now that he&rsquo;s seen some old fallout shelters in person, he&rsquo;s satisfied; yes, he expected many bare concrete walls to be left behind, but he was still a little surprised.</p><p>&ldquo;I wondered if they would still be any supplies left around. It&#39;s interesting to hear that those are all removed at a certain point and these are kind of now being used for different things. I guess I didn&#39;t expect to see them as weight rooms now,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Space is so valuable, especially in Chicago, that you would take any available space like that and do something with it.&rdquo;</p><p>As for his own thoughts on what to have in a personal fallout shelter, Kyle boils it down to this: &ldquo;I think it all depends on who you have down there with you.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://cabentley.com/" target="_blank">Chris Bentley is a freelance journalist</a> who reports regularly for WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City. Follow him at <a href="http://cabentley.com/" target="_blank">cabentley.com</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/cementley" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 18:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/are-there-fallout-shelters-left-chicago-112688 Black business' slow flight from Bronzeville http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/black-business-slow-flight-bronzeville-112524 <p><p>Bronzeville played a huge part in African-American history. When the Great Migration began a century ago, black Southerners flocked to the South Side neighborhood, which stretched between State Street and the lake, from 22nd Street to 63rd Street.</p><p>These migrants transformed the area into a black population center and a nexus of black culture. On the business side, a mass of black consumers supported black-owned restaurants, shops and other enterprises.</p><p>It&rsquo;s this commercial &nbsp;history that attracted the attention of Clare Butterfield, who lives on the north end of the neighborhood and sent along this question:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I wondered where those shops went. &hellip; There&rsquo;s just not a lot of businesses there. And they&rsquo;re not black-owned for the most part. So that was question: Where did they go? What happened to them?</em></p><p>We found several reasons behind the dispersal of Bronzeville&rsquo;s black commercial might, from demographics to a changing business climate. But Clare herself touched on a possible explanation, too, one that&rsquo;s both common and controversial: Perhaps legalized segregation had an upside for black Chicagoans otherwise hurt by discrimination and, when that segregation ended, the business climate took a hit.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Business in the heart of Bronzeville</span></p><p>The neighborhood&rsquo;s status as a vibrant commercial center is undeniable, according to <a href="http://www.thehistorymakers.com/sites/production/files/styles/bio_photo/public/Reed_Christopher_wm.png" target="_blank">Christopher Robert Reed</a>, an emeritus professor of history at Roosevelt University and one of <em>the</em>&nbsp;go-to scholars on black Chicago. (He also grew up in Bronzeville, his father owning a three-chair barber shop in the neighborhood until a fire destroyed it in the 1970s).</p><p>&ldquo;The State Street corridor was a commercial center for black Chicago,&rdquo; Reed says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been likened to a black Wall Street.&rdquo;</p><p>This activity happened in the context of persistent racial segregation in Chicago. The primary instruments that kept blacks in Bronzeville and the rest of Chicago&rsquo;s &ldquo;Black Belt&rdquo; were restrictive covenants, private legal agreements that barred whites from selling their homes to blacks. Until the covenants were ruled unconstitutional in 1948, discrimination crowded black families of all economic stripes into too few residential units. This created a critical density of black consumers and, the theory goes, one that kept black-owned businesses viable.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s danger in presenting life or business in Bronzeville as a happy Jim Crow fest: Segregation did breed business ingenuity, but it also bred discriminatory practices. That led to some surprises in the neighborhood&rsquo;s composition. For one, Chicago&rsquo;s whites kept blacks out of white neighborhoods, but that didn&rsquo;t stop whites from operating their own businesses within Bronzeville. <a>In</a>&nbsp;the seminal book <em><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3638645.html" target="_blank">Black Metropolis: </a><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3638645.html">A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City</a></em>&nbsp;authors St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton found that, in 1938, Bronzeville blacks owned and operated 2,600 businesses while whites had 2,800.</p><p>And, there&rsquo;s more. The area&rsquo;s black businesses were smaller and older than their white counterparts, and they only received less than a tenth of all the money spent by black consumers within the area.</p><p>Business cycles, too, were unkind. Reed says from the 1920s on, blacks did own businesses on 35th Street, but these operations &ldquo;were hurt tremendously by the Great Depression that started in 1930.&rdquo;</p><p>Even after the worst of the Depression passed, segregation had put the black business community on unsure footing, as black owners couldn&rsquo;t compete with whites when it came to securing capital. Steven Rogers, who teaches black entrepreneurship at Harvard University, says there&rsquo;s always been a dearth of support by mainstream financial institutions.</p><p>&ldquo;In the 1940s when we saw blacks in the business world, the only support that black-owned businesses had was through guerrilla financing, that&rsquo;s self-financing, or family,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t see that institutional support that we saw with white-owned companies. And the reality is when that happens, when that&rsquo;s in existence, you won&rsquo;t see the prosperous businesses as we see in the white communities.&rdquo;</p><p>And that left black businesses of the past last century much more vulnerable.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Spread far and wide</span></p><p>There are no data that show clear pre- and post-1948 numbers of black-owned businesses, but it&rsquo;s clear that blacks began to disperse in the 1950s because of the lifting of covenants. At the same time &ldquo;urban renewal&rdquo; (often derided as &ldquo;Negro removal&rdquo;) was underway.</p><p>&ldquo;The expansion of Lake Meadows, Prairie Shores, Michael Reese Hospital, Mercy Hospital and the Illinois Institute of Technology led to the displacement of thousands of black families from State Street east over to the Lake from 26th Street south to about 35th,&rdquo; says Reed. &ldquo;This was a devastating blow to black demographic unity and it affected businesses operations adversely on 35th Street.&rdquo;</p><p>The bottom line, Reed says, is that &ldquo;the customers had moved away.&rdquo;</p><p>The erosion of a concentrated customer base plays into changes that took place in Scott&rsquo;s Blue <a>Book</a>, a black business directory that contained an array of listings &mdash; everything from sausage-makers to dentists. As desegregation continued, the tone of the books shifted from unabashedly pro-black to more race-neutral in the 1960s.<a name="presentation"></a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://wbez.is/1LRR1t5" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Blue%20Book%20Comparison%20presentation%20THUMB.png" style="width: 100%;" title="" /></a></div><p>And there was another transformation, one that gets to Clare&rsquo;s observation about Bronzeville&rsquo;s present-day businesses not being black-owned.</p><p>&ldquo;What happened to the businesses happened to a lot of businesses in America, once the economy was transformed by the global economy&rsquo;s dominance,&rdquo; Reed says.</p><p>35th Street faced competitive trends similar to those faced by other commercial strips in Chicago, to the point where, today, 35th Street includes multinational companies: McDonald&rsquo;s, Chase Bank, Subway and Popeye&rsquo;s, to name a few. (<a href="http://popeyes.com/franchise/international/areas-available.php" target="_blank">Yes, Popeye&rsquo;s is international!</a>)</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Survivors of segregation and then integration, too</span></p><p>The Depression, a global economy and urban renewal played their roles in undercutting or dispersing Bronzeville&rsquo;s black-owned businesses. As we&rsquo;re answering Clare&rsquo;s question about what happened to them, it&rsquo;s fair to point a brighter side: Some of these businesses stayed put.</p><p>Among the survivors are black-owned Seaway Bank and <a href="http://www.isfbank.com/">Illinois Service Federal</a>, a savings and loan that&rsquo;s been around since 1934. The latter issued home loans when commercial banks shunned black customers.</p><p>Illinois Service Federal chairman Norman Williams also happens to be president of <a href="http://www.unityfuneralparlors.com/" target="_blank">Unity Funeral Parlors</a>, a black-owned South Side business that started in 1937.</p><p>&ldquo;My father came to Chicago as an insurance executive,&rdquo; Williams says. &ldquo;This was an entrepreneurial idea that came to him that he hoped his family would be able to continue.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams&rsquo; father turned out to be right. For decades, few white funeral homes served blacks, and many of the funeral homes survived a more integrated era.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Continuing legacy</span></p><p>Black businesses are no longer clustered in an area like the Black Belt, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean they don&rsquo;t exist. The basic pattern was that black businesses moved into the neighborhoods that black people moved into.</p><p>&ldquo;Black Chicago has always been recognized as the crown jewel of black-owned businesses throughout the country,&rdquo; says Harvard&rsquo;s Steven Rogers. &ldquo;The black business community in Chicago is responsible for some historic events in our country.&rdquo;</p><p>Historic events like &hellip; helping finance the elections of the city&rsquo;s first black mayor and the country&rsquo;s first black president.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">More about our questioner</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/preferredheadshot3.png" style="float: right; height: 322px; width: 290px; margin: 5px;" title="(Photo courtesy of Clare Butterfield)" />Clare Butterfield grew up in Central Illinois but has been in Chicago for 30 years, having lived on the North, West and South sides.</p><p>She&rsquo;s called Bronzeville home for the past 10 years, and, following our reporting, appreciates a reminder that urban renewal programs deeply affected her neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;I&#39;ve seen the memorial marker on State Street north of 35th that mentions that IIT displaced a row of black businesses there,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Some of the businesses got swept out along with the housing, and that should have been more obvious to me.&rdquo;</p><p>Clare is just one of many questioners who&rsquo;ve asked about some of the least comfortable parts of Chicago history.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s hard for white people to ask these questions,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;partly because we don&#39;t want to be interpreted as critical, when we mean to be sympathetic (however imperfectly), and partly because we&#39;re probably not going to like what we learn: more examples of injustice and the use of power by people like us, first to force people into a neighborhood and then to force them out of it.&rdquo;</p><p>The only way out, she says, is affirm that these things happened and, when we can, show, too, how &ldquo;some entrepreneurs persisted and thrived in spite of everything they had to navigate.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>.&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/black-business-slow-flight-bronzeville-112524 Were Chicago's public schools ever good? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/were-chicagos-public-schools-ever-good-112025 <p><p>Our questioner Julie had completely forgotten she asked this when we reached out to her. She lives in Chicago&rsquo;s North Center neighborhood and didn&rsquo;t want to say much more about herself. But here&rsquo;s what she wanted to know:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>There is reporting about how Chicago Public Schools is slowly getting better. Was there ever a time when they were <strong>good</strong>?</em></p><p>As an education reporter, I&rsquo;ve heard many versions of this question during <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/bvevea" target="_blank">my time covering Chicago Public Schools</a>, and that&rsquo;s partly why I wanted to take a stab at answering it. But I also wanted to tackle this question because it asks us to think about our relationship with the public schools and what we expect them to do.</p><p>Measuring a school or school district&rsquo;s success or failure is no easy feat, and it&rsquo;s even harder to measure over time because the standards and metrics have changed significantly. <a href="https://ccsr.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Trends_CPS_Full_Report.pdf" target="_blank">A recent study from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research</a> stated that &ldquo;discrepancies are due to myriad issues with publicly reported data &mdash; including changes in test content and scoring &mdash; that make year-over-year comparisons nearly impossible without complex statistical analyses.&rdquo;</p><p>Because the definition of &ldquo;good&rdquo; is subjective,<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/good-school-bad-school-how-should-we-measure-111736" target="_blank"> we solicited your help</a> in defining how to use it while reporting this story. Some of you suggested using standardized test scores, which go back decades. (Schools haven&rsquo;t used the same test over time, making comparisons difficult.) Others suggested we consider grades or safety.</p><p>Ultimately, we decided to look at when CPS did a good job preparing students for successful careers; that is: When did the district best prepare people to be productive, taxpaying citizens? Career readiness is a consistent expectation, and it&rsquo;s possible to compare one era to another.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The 1940s, a Golden Era?</span></p><p>Based on this measurement and what historians and other experts suggested, the 1940s would seem the best contender for the district&rsquo;s golden era of public education. Schools provided valuable workforce training that was needed in the local industries, like steel and iron work, retail and office or clerical jobs.</p><p>The 1940s saw the culmination of a series of unprecedented investments in public education, mostly from the federal government. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 funneled millions of dollars into vocational training. Chicago schools set up programs in accounting, drafting, welding, and even &ldquo;household arts.&rdquo;</p><p>After a lag during the Great Depression, the war effort and New Deal programs brought even more vocational programs. One example: In 1939, the city built <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-05/school-architecture-look-sprawling-chicago-vocational-99372">Chicago Vocational High School</a>, and quickly turned it over to the U.S. Navy to train young men in aviation mechanics. (By the late 1940s, control of the school returned to the Chicago Board of Education.)</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Another example to point to: More than a dozen local unions collaborated with and supported the programs at Washburne Trade School to train future electricians and carpenters.</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/lane tech automobile dept.JPG" style="height: 389px; width: 620px;" title="New Deal programs of the 1940s brought more vocational programs to public education, like this automobile shop class at Albert Grannis Lane Manual Training High School, now named Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago's North Center Neighborhood. (Courtesy Chuckman's nostalgia and memorabilia website) " /></div></div><p>But Dionne Danns, an education historian at Indiana University, provides a fast reality check when it comes to assessing the era. She points out that, at the turn of the century, and into the 1940s, people did not even need a high school diploma. In fact, most people weren&rsquo;t even finishing elementary school.</p><p>&ldquo;You didn&rsquo;t have to go to school for a job,&rdquo; Danns says. &ldquo;You went to school because they wanted you to go. They were opening more schools because they wanted immigrants to go to school and learn what it meant to be American.&rdquo;</p><p>And more importantly, Danns says, the 1940s can&rsquo;t count as a golden era of public schooling because schools were not providing education to all children; African Americans, Latinos and other minority groups did not have access to the same public schools as whites.</p><p>Women were just beginning to gain access to colleges and careers. Many attended the Lucy Flower Vocational School, which offered a home economics program and some two-year programs in sewing, dressmaking and millinery (hat-making).</p><p>A <a href="http://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1770&amp;context=luc_diss">study</a> out of Loyola University pegged Chicago Vocational High School enrollment in 1946 at 2,721 students. Just 204 were girls. Another all-girls school opened that year. Richards Vocational High School had an enrollment of 230 women and offered curriculum in home arts, dressmaking, beauty culture, and bookkeeping among other things.</p><p>&ldquo;We can&rsquo;t underestimate the role schools played in maintaining inequalities in society,&rdquo; Danns says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1964%20map.jpg" style="float: right; height: 502px; width: 350px;" title="Locations of integrated and segregated elementary schools in Chicago, 1964. (Source: Board of Education)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Better schools, more students</span></p><p>What about looking for the CPS golden era of career readiness just a bit later, perhaps sometime in the &lsquo;50s or &lsquo;60s? It&rsquo;s tempting, because the inequalities we saw in the 1940s were challenged in 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools are &ldquo;inherently unequal&rdquo; and therefore, unconstitutional.</p><p>By the 1960s, African Americans were enrolling in public schools that had been historically all white. And for a while, schools were integrating.</p><p>In 1964 Paul Goren (today, the Superintendent of District 65 in Evanston) was in kindergarten in the city&rsquo;s Avalon Park neighborhood. Hanging on his office wall are three class photos: one each from 1964, 1967 and 1968. In the 1964 photo, half of the smiling children are white, the other half are African American. The 1968 picture, though, shows just three white students.</p><p>Goren says that in his class of about thirty or so, those last three white children were the last three white children left in the entire school.</p><p>&ldquo;What I remember very distinctly, and again, it&rsquo;s characterized in the pictures up above, was arguments kids were making saying, &lsquo;We&rsquo;re moving!&rsquo; &lsquo;Oh, why are you moving?&rsquo; And the answer was because the schools are not good,&rdquo; Goren recalls. &ldquo;That sort of confused me, because the schools didn&rsquo;t seem to be any different than they were when they were frankly, all white.&rdquo;</p><p>That same year, an advisory panel on integration warned the Chicago Board of Education that whites were fleeing the district in mass numbers.</p><p>The board dragged its feet and did little to prevent white flight during the 1960s, but by 1970 the board started systematic attempts to integrate the schools.</p><p>It created the first generation of magnet schools, many of which are still successful today: Whitney Young, Disney, and Inter-American, among others. They were endowed with special programs and extra resources that would attract white students and African Americans. Students applied from all over the city and their names were essentially, picked out of a hat.</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/metro%20high%20school%20yearbook%201978.PNG" style="height: 457px; width: 620px;" title="Metro High School's curriculum was built on the idea of the city being a classroom, and held classes at places like the Shedd Aquarium and Second City. (Source: Metro High School yearbook, 1978)" /></div><p>Goren went to one such school, called Metro High (or, Chicago Public High School for Metropolitan Studies). Not only was it an experiment in diversity, the school had a <a href="http://www.metrohschicago.com/bonus/Cycle3catalog1973.pdf">unique curriculum</a>. Goren took classes across the city: marine biology at Shedd Aquarium, animal behavior at Lincoln Park Zoo, and public speaking at Second City.</p><p>&ldquo;For me the golden era was my time at Metro High School,&rdquo; Goren says. The school closed in 1991.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/goren.PNG" style="height: 235px; width: 275px; float: right;" title="Paul Goren, right, at Metro High School in 1975. " /></p><p>Goren says many of the kids who attended Metro and other magnet schools were propelled into good careers in law and medicine. He has several friends who are now teachers in the area, as well.</p><p>But a lot of Chicago kids weren&rsquo;t that lucky. Magnet schools became isolated islands of success, but if you didn&rsquo;t get into one, public education was a mixed bag. &nbsp;</p><p>Among other problems, inequalities persisted. Danns says when schools started to integrate, local trade unions pulled support from Washburne Trade School. An <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1986-11-27/news/8603290329_1_apprenticeship-public-schools-board">article</a> from the Chicago Tribune in 1986, mentioned that in 1963 fewer than 2 percent of apprentices at Washburne were black.</p><p>In other words, even with years of effort on the part of the district, a career-ready curriculum remained out of reach for large swaths of CPS students.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&#39;Worst in the nation&#39;</span></p><p>There are few reasons to argue that CPS was at its best in the &lsquo;80s, because (among other reasons), CPS ran into financial troubles throughout the decade. Also, between 1979 to 1987, Chicago teachers went on strike nine times. Districts started measuring achievement and looking at dropout rates, and in Chicago, things did not look great.</p><p>In 1987, then-U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett famously characterized Chicago schools as &ldquo;the worst&rdquo; in the nation. More than half of all students were dropping out of high school at the same time the value of a high school degree was increasing. Factory jobs had all but disappeared and the country was still recovering from the 1982 recession.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VC8dPdPo9Tg?rel=0&amp;controls=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:10px;">Above: A short video recollection from a CPS teacher about the 1980s strike. (YouTube/Chicago Teachers Union)</span></span></p><p>Susan Lofton was a teacher in the early 1990s and vividly remembers being locked out because CPS couldn&rsquo;t make payroll.</p><p>&ldquo;All of a sudden was told don&rsquo;t go to work on Monday,&rdquo; Lofton says. &ldquo;I remember going to an unemployment office where there was literally a roped off area for teachers to go be processed.&rdquo;</p><p>In 1988, the Illinois General Assembly passed the first Chicago School Reform Act, creating local school councils at each individual school. Many schools improved under this model, but others did not.</p><p>In 1995, the state gave total control of CPS to mayor Richard M. Daley. This started the last era we&rsquo;re going to consider. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">More success than we realize</span></p><p>I&rsquo;m going to suggest something that might surprise you. Maybe, just maybe, we&rsquo;re living in CPS&rsquo; golden era right now.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a growing body of evidence that Chicago&rsquo;s schools are improving quickly and &mdash; for certain populations of students &mdash; doing better than other districts. <em>U.S. News and World Report</em> just released its annual rankings of the nation&rsquo;s best high schools: <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2015/may/six-chicago-public-high-schools-among-top-ten-in-the-state--u-s-.html">Six of the top 10 in Illinois are in CPS and another three in the top 20.</a></p><p>&ldquo;When the state&rsquo;s not doing well or not making great progress, there&rsquo;s always some number of people who say, &lsquo;Well maybe that&rsquo;s just because Chicago&rsquo;s not doing well. Maybe they&rsquo;re just dragging down the rest of the state,&rsquo;&rdquo; says Robin Steans, executive director of <a href="http://www.advanceillinois.org/">Advance Illinois, a bipartisan group focused on improving the state&rsquo;s education policy</a>. &ldquo;What we found is that&rsquo;s not true. Chicago has made steady gains both academically and in terms of some critical outcomes, like graduation.&rdquo;</p><p>Steans&rsquo; group looked at scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, from 2003 to 2013 and found Chicago students grew 11 points on the 8th grade math test and 7 points on the 4th grade reading test. The state grew just 7 points and 3 points, respectively.</p><p>Advance Illinois also compiled state graduation data from 2014 to compare Chicago with other districts for certain subgroups of students. They found that Latino students enrolled in CPS are more likely to graduate high school than their counterparts in many suburban districts, including Maine Township High Schools and Evanston Township High School.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s so counterintuitive to what they think they know about Chicago that they just disregard it,&rdquo; Steans says of the data. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s been so much noise, with the teachers strike and the school closings. The political heat and noise tends to crowd out what&rsquo;s actually beneath and behind that.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://urbanedleadership.org/about-us/people/paul-zavitkovsky/" target="_blank">Paul Zavitkovsky</a>, a&nbsp;leadership coach and assessment specialist&nbsp;at the Urban Education Leadership Program at the University of Illinois - Chicago, may be able to help. In a forthcoming study, Zavitkovsky&rsquo;s findings mirror what Advance Illinois found.</p><p>&ldquo;On an apples-for-apples basis, if you compare yourself with your counterparts based on race and socioeconomic status in other parts of the state, you have a higher probability of having a better educational experience in Chicago,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>But Zavitkovsky goes further. He shared a preliminary version of the report with WBEZ that showed students in the 75th percentile for 4th grade math achievement grew 20 points between 2003 and 2013. The performance of that subgroup in the rest of the state grew only 3 points in the same amount of time.</p><p>However, he&rsquo;s not convinced CPS is in a &ldquo;golden era&rdquo; because of all this data. From Zavitkovsky&rsquo;s vantage, the real win is that we have more information than we&rsquo;ve ever had before,and that can better inform the national conversation about public schools.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re better positioned now than we&rsquo;ve ever been to know what we have to do in order to be able to get that kind of stuff into the hands and into the heads of more than just a small percentage of kids, coming primarily from the most privileged families in America,&rdquo; Zavitowsky says.</p><p>There&rsquo;s no easy way to measure job readiness and whether these improvements translate into more successful alumni. Short of picking up the phone and calling all the former students, CPS does not follow students into employment.</p><p>The closest indicator available is college persistence, and CPS also made gains in it during the last decade. A <a href="https://ccsr.uchicago.edu/publications/educational-attainment-chicago-public-schools-students-focus-four-year-college-degrees">report from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research</a> found that between 2006 and 2014, the percentage of CPS students earning a bachelor&rsquo;s degree within 6 years of high school graduation jumped from 8 percent to 14 percent. The national rate is 18 percent.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Greater Expectations</span></p><p>I&rsquo;ve been reporting on CPS for more than four years and I&rsquo;ve covered a lot of the noise and dysfunction Steans mentioned. But I&rsquo;ve also reported on schools that are trying everything to improve.</p><p>They include schools like Senn High School in Edgewater. Susan Lofton, the teacher who remembers being in the unemployment line back in the 1990s, is now the principal at Senn. When she took over in 2010, the school had a bad name.</p><p>&ldquo;A-B-S,&rdquo; Lofton says, &ldquo;Anywhere But Senn.&rdquo;</p><p>Lofton created the Senn Arts magnet program and expanded the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight/2012-04-25/chicagos-middle-class-not-interested-hidden-gem-high-schools-98519">rigorous International Baccalaureate program</a>, which had long been a hidden gem.</p><p>She also recruited drama teacher Joel Ewing away from Walter Payton College Prep, a prestigious selective enrollment school.</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/ewing.png" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Joel Ewing teaches a drama class at Senn High School. Previously a teacher at Walter Payton College Prep, Ewing says he accepted the position at Senn because he saw a void that needed to be filled. (WBEZ/Jesse Dukes)" /></div><p>&ldquo;When I took the job at Senn Arts, I got crooked heads,&rdquo; Ewing says. &ldquo;&lsquo;Why would you leave Walter Payton? That&#39;s clearly one of the best schools, in the city, state.&rsquo; ... I thought there was a void that needed to be filled. Payton is going to be alright.&rdquo;</p><p>Senn chose to become a little like a magnet school but still focus on neighborhood students &mdash; a strategy that lots of CPS schools are trying. But Lofton says the biggest hurdle to changing Senn&rsquo;s reputation has nothing to do with academics.</p><p>&ldquo;The first day I got here, I took the Red Line,&rdquo; Lofton recalls. &ldquo;I, myself, could barely get through the station to get myself to school. There were a lot of my kids there that were just loitering because, &lsquo;Hey! We don&rsquo;t go to school on time here.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Now, she and the other administrators start every morning at the Thorndale Red Line stop, shuffling students along and calling the cops on anyone else who, as she says, had no business being there.</p><p>Senn is not alone: Schools across the city worry about safety, sometimes even before academics. It&rsquo;s a big departure from past decades.Today, we expect schools to do more than we ever have. Making the local train stop safe? Since when is that in the job description of a principal or teacher? If Lofton and Senn staff want their students to be prepared for college and careers, they don&rsquo;t really have a choice not to.</p><p>The latest trends tempt me to say that the time we&rsquo;re looking for, when CPS schools were good ... is right now. The district&rsquo;s serving more students than ever and it&rsquo;s still making incremental progress, despite the noise and dysfunction that sometimes overshadow much of it. (As an education reporter, I know I share the blame for that.)</p><p>But I&#39;m not convinced this is the golden era; there&rsquo;s a lot of work to be done and that bad stuff I report on? It does really happen.</p><p>So, even if there was never a &ldquo;golden age&rdquo; and even if the idea itself is impossible, I think we have to keep asking questions, looking at what works and what doesn&rsquo;t and never stop highlighting those who are not being served.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer and reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 13 May 2015 17:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/were-chicagos-public-schools-ever-good-112025 Uptown's moment as a 'Hillbilly Heaven' http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/uptowns-moment-hillbilly-heaven-111964 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203187587&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Hillbilly Heaven. That was a common nickname for Chicago&rsquo;s Uptown neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s. For about twenty years, the neighborhood, which sits between Lakeview and Rogers Park, was locally famous for being home to thousands of white Southern migrants, many of whom came from the Appalachian region. And while many migrants lived in other neighborhoods on the North Side, Uptown had the greatest concentration of Southerners and, not coincidentally, it was where the poorest members of that community lived.</p><p>The Southern influence stuck around through the &lsquo;70s, but by the &lsquo;90s, it was difficult to find many Southerners in Uptown. The history fascinated questioner Matthew Byrd, a college student originally from Chicago. Byrd is descended from Southern migrants (both of his mother&rsquo;s parents were born in West Virginia), and he grew up visiting his extended family in the South and asking his grandparents about Uptown in the &ldquo;Hillbilly Heaven&rdquo; days.</p><p>&ldquo;I always asked them why they came to Uptown &hellip; and they never gave me a definitive answer. I wanted to know why they all came to that neighborhood. &hellip; Like, why didn&rsquo;t they come to like Bridgeport or Humboldt Park. Why was it Uptown?&rdquo;</p><p>His question for Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why did so many migrants from Appalachia end up in Chicago&#39;s Uptown neighborhood during the &#39;50s and &#39;60s? Why did so many leave?</em></p><p>With help from Byrd&rsquo;s own family, historians and others, we&rsquo;re able to provide a quick account of how the neighborhood transformed from a swank, Midwestern urban neighborhood to one where, according to sociologist Todd Gitlin: &ldquo;You&rsquo;d walk down the street [and] you&rsquo;d hear some country western song coming down the window, and as you proceeded down the street, you&rsquo;d hear the same song coming out of other windows. You heard a lot of Southern accents. You saw a lot of Southern license plates.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The Great (White) Migration</span></p><p>It doesn&rsquo;t take a great mental leap to grasp why so many white Southerners came to Chicago when they did. Like most migrant groups, they came because there were abundant jobs. While we might be more familiar with <a href="http://www.census.gov/dataviz/visualizations/020/">&ldquo;The Second Great Migration&rdquo;</a> (1940 - 1970) &nbsp;of African Americans from the South, to the North, Midwest, and West, more white migrants than black made the trek to the North after World War II.</p><p>Chad Berry, a historian at Berea College, takes up the phenomenon in <em>Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles</em>: &ldquo;Anyone familiar with the history of especially the Upland South will immediately ask not so much why southerners left their region in droves in the twentieth century, but why it took them so long to pack their bags. ...&rdquo; The Upland South, a region that includes most of Appalachia as well as places farther west such as Western Kentucky and Arkansas, had been in an economic slump since before the Civil War, and it offered few economies apart from subsistence farming and coal mining.</p><p>But before 1920, Southerners hoping to leave had few choices. Large Northern industries could largely satisfy their hunger for cheap labor by recruiting immigrants from other countries. Chicago&rsquo;s Polish, Irish, Italian, and many other European populations all have their roots in the late 19th century. But in the 1920s, the U.S., still reeling from World War I, clamped down on immigration with a series of federal laws that drastically restricted the immigrant labor pool. This meant big industry had to turn inward for cheap labor. Berry says &ldquo;They look in three places: whites, blacks, and domestic-born Latino people.&rdquo;</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_27083" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/263449521/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><span style="font-size:10px;">Above: A 1967 pamphlet for The Chicago Southern Center, an organization that helped Southern migrants adjust to urban living. (Courtesy Chicago History Museum)</span></p><p>Southern whites and blacks began to come north, but just as the migration started, the Great Depression slowed down industry so much that jobs became scarce. The migration was put on hold until 1941. &ldquo;And then during and after World War II, there&rsquo;s an amazing demand for manufacturing,&rdquo; says Berry. &ldquo;Chicago was a real magnet for workers, just as Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland and other countless places were in the Midwest.&rdquo;</p><p>In the late 1940s (a bit earlier than Matthew Byrd had ventured), white Southerners began travelling north again, lured by stories of abundant jobs. Roger Guy, a sociologist who interviewed Southerners in Uptown during the 1990s says &ldquo;Migrants spoke about being able to leave a job, and being able to walk across the street and get another one.&rdquo;</p><p>Southerners worked in light industrial factories such as Polaroid and Zenith. Some performed more brutal and less lucrative day labor in the steel mills. Others found work in carpentry, or in the city&rsquo;s prominent candy industry, or even as handymen or shade tree mechanics.</p><p>The jobs brought changes to the traditional order of Southern life. First off, women often performed the same work that men did. And, the Southerners now worked in the same workplaces as African Americans, Latinos, and recent European immigrants. Southern migrants who hailed from the more isolated Appalachian region had never even met Catholics or Jews before coming North.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Uptown: A neighborhood ready for migrants</span></p><p>The new arrivals needed a place to arrive within the city &mdash; a neighborhood that was near industrial work but also offered affordable rents. They found Uptown. While we don&rsquo;t know which Southern migrant first settled there, or precisely when that happened, a series of events primed Uptown as a suitable port of entry.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uptown%20in%20the%201920s.jpg" style="float: right; height: 296px; width: 320px;" title="Uptown's Chelsea Hotel, on the left, opened in 1923 and required its first residents to rent rooms on a monthly basis to ensure no 'transients' stayed in the building. (Photo courtesy jontrott.com) " /></p><p>According to Roger Guy, Uptown in the 1920s rivaled The Loop as the premier shopping and entertainment destination in Chicago. It was the heart of Chicago&rsquo;s silent film industry, and there were several monolithic brick residential hotels where professionals could stay for weeks, months or longer, depending on their busy and shifting schedules.Young single people could live in fancy Art-Deco apartments and enjoy an active nightlife. The Uptown Theater &mdash; &nbsp;at the time, Chicago&rsquo;s second-largest entertainment venue &mdash; showed movies and stage shows, and contained a nightclub and several shops. The &ldquo;Moorish&rdquo;-looking Aragon theater featured highbrow jazz music, while the Green Mill Gardens and the Arcadia Ballroom catered to younger, wilder patrons.</p><p>The depressed economy of the 1930s saw the neighborhood change significantly. The film industry went to Hollywood, the nightlife became seedier and many of the wealthier tenants left. To save money, landlords deferred maintenance, and to keep their units profitable, they began subdividing large luxury apartments into single- and double-room units to rent to a less wealthy clientele. Many residential hotel rooms were similarly converted to small studios. By the 1950s, Uptown was full of cheap, formerly fancy apartments.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&lsquo;Hillbilly Heaven&rsquo;</span></p><p>As a port of entry, many Southerners came to Uptown because they knew somebody there, and knew they could find cheap rent. Those who could find good jobs often moved to other, quieter neighborhoods, but those who couldn&rsquo;t tended to stay in Uptown. That meant it became the locus of Southern white poverty in Chicago.</p><p>Many Southerners who lived there remember the neighborhood fondly. They enjoyed the opportunity to hear country music, or even familiar accents. But our questioner&rsquo;s grandmother, Linda Lambert, says her family was in for a shock when they arrived from West Virginia in 1965.</p><p>&ldquo;There were many Southern people,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;but they weren&#39;t the Southern people we were used to being around. They were a little rough around the edges. If I was getting ready to go to the store, my dad would watch me walk down the block. Somebody would be whistling at me, and it was kind of upsetting.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="420" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//slides.com/loganjaffe-1/deck-2/embed?token=y7n404tH" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="576"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:10px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Above: Photos of Appalachian migrants in Uptown taken by Bob Rehak, who documented the neighborhood throughout the 1970s. See his photo book: <a href="http://bobrehak.com/wordpress/uptown-portrait-of-a-chicago-neighborhood-in-the-mid-1970s-by-robert-rehak/" target="_blank"><em>Chicago&#39;s Uptown: 1973-77</em></a> for more.&nbsp;</span></span></p><p>Southerners developed a bad reputation among some Chicagoans. In the 1950s, The <em>Chicago Tribune</em> ran a series of articles about Southerners in Uptown, featuring reporter Norma Lee Browning. Although she developed a reputation as a tough investigative reporter, Browning&rsquo;s articles were loaded with stereotypes about rural Southerners. Here&rsquo;s an excerpt from the series&rsquo; first article, entitled &ldquo;<a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1957/03/03/page/1/article/girl-reporter-visits-jungles-of-hillbillies" target="_blank">Girl Reporter Visits Jungles of Hillbillies</a>&rdquo;:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Authorities are reluctant to point a finger at any one segment of the population or nationality group, but they agree that the southern hillbilly migrants, who have descended on Chicago like a plague of locusts in the last few years, have the lowest standard of living and moral code [if any] of all, the biggest capacity for liquor, and the most savage and vicious tactics when drunk, which is most of the time.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Another article purported to document the newcomers&rsquo; family life: &ldquo;They get married one day, unmarried the next, and in the confusion of common law marriages many children never know who their parents are &mdash; and nobody cares.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite the apparent gross exaggerations and fabrications from the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>&rsquo;s reporting, it appears there <em>were</em> some unsavory characters in Uptown. Roger Guy explains Uptown had some of the characteristics of an oil boomtown, where young single men would work for a few weeks, and then use their wages to party.</p><p>Migrant Linda Lambert says, &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s like any other culture, you got your good and you got your bad. There was a lot of poverty. That is true. But a lot of people who lived there lived there until they could do better. It was just a stop in the road.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Displacement</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uptown%20demolition%20area.jpg" style="height: 328px; width: 620px;" title="An evaluation of the condition of a block of housing in Uptown by the city's Department of Urban Renewal, 1967. (Flickr/Devin Hunter)" /></p><p>If some Uptown Southerners represented a rougher element, others just struggled to survive in a city that was not always hospitable. Virginia Bowers, a former resident who originally came from West Virginia, says that tenants in Uptown often had to deal with unscrupulous landlords. She had worked managing property. During interviews with Roger Guy she&rsquo;d said: &ldquo;I lost my first job as a manager in a building because I stuck up for a couple that had been bitten by a rat. The owner wanted me to lie about it. I told [the housing inspector] that I couldn&rsquo;t lie to him. I was a mother myself and I couldn&rsquo;t lie.&rdquo;</p><p>There were numerous reports of landlords cutting corners to save money. According to tenants and local activists, owners turned off the heat, electricity, or water in buildings. They deferred maintenance to save money, and harassed or evicted tenants who complained. Activists including scholar Todd Gitlin and Helen Shiller (who became the area&rsquo;s alderman in 1987) organized tenants to resist unsanitary conditions through rent strikes, public protest and other tactics. In some cases, they were able to bring about better housing conditions.</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/uptown%20apartment%20interior.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 620px;" title="An Uptown apartment kitchen in 1967. (Flickr/Devin Hunter)" /></div><p>But even as Southerners in Uptown sought to improve housing conditions for the poor in Uptown, the city and developers had other plans. By the late 1960s, abundant jobs were scarce, and Uptown&rsquo;s reputation as a rough place with substandard housing grew worse. The city instituted a series of public works projects, including razing several square blocks to relocate Harry S. Truman City College. A group called the &ldquo;Uptown Area People&rsquo;s Planning Organization&rdquo; organized under the leadership of Chuck Geary. Geary was a migrant himself &mdash; a Korean War veteran, erstwhile hitchhiker, father of eight and a preacher. He worked with architect Rodney Wright to develop an alternative to the Truman College plan called <a href="http://www.thecyberhood.net/documents/papers/guy.pdf" target="_blank">Hank Williams Village</a>, named after the famous country singer. According to Roger Guy, the village would be a &ldquo;planned community with subsidized apartments, a pharmacy, and an employment agency.&rdquo; It was never built.</p><p>After the Truman College relocation effort won out, the area saw a series of developments. The city and developers argued urban renewal was necessary to replace substandard housing and rid Uptown of blight. Helen Shiller argues the poor in Uptown, who also included Native Americans, Japanese-American migrants, Latinos, and a handful of other groups, were seen as undesirable by the city and business community. &ldquo;The city&rsquo;s policy, in the North Side at least, was to create public works projects in specific communities where they wanted to remove people,&rdquo; she says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/williams site from guy paper.PNG" style="float: right; height: 304px; width: 300px;" title="(Source: 'Hank Williams Village and the Legacy of Advocacy Planning' by Roger Guy)" />City officials and developers responded that they were not trying to remove anybody, but the neighborhood needed improvement, and if that meant some people were displaced, it was an unfortunate necessity.</p><p>Shiller argues that planning for Uptown could have been more inclusive, preserving housing for the poor, including white Southerners. But, she says, that didn&rsquo;t happen.</p><p>&ldquo;A handful of developers were redefining the community in real estate terms and claiming parts of it,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They had deep pockets and built up large tracts of family housing, kicked people out wholesale, rehabbed the buildings, and tripled and even quadrupled the rent.&rdquo;</p><p>Whether or not the city and developers actively targeted poor white Southerners for removal, the evictions and rising rents seem to have driven thousands, if not tens of thousands out of Uptown, and likely out of Chicago. The way demographic data was collected makes it difficult to say, but Roger Guy feels that by the 1990s there were few signs left that Uptown had ever housed tens of thousands of Southerners. He says in 1994 and 1995, he volunteered to register voters.</p><p>&ldquo;I walked along those streets in the heart of Uptown and went in buildings knocking on doors,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t remember encountering a Southerner.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Into the fabric of Chicago</span></p><p>According to historian Chad Berry, many Southerners left Uptown on their own terms before urban renewal and gentrification ever took place. He says academics and journalists found they could document the once-high concentration of Southerners in Uptown, but it proved more difficult to document the lives of those who were successful and left the neighborhood.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Byrd%2011.jpeg" style="height: 356px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Linda Hensley Lambert and Glen Lambert, our question-asker's grandparents, who moved to Ravenswood in 1978. (Photo courtesy the Lambert family)" />&ldquo;People who did find the economic dream they were looking for, might have moved on and, when they moved on, they might have bought a little brick tiny house in the suburbs,&rdquo; Berry says. &ldquo;And on one side was a Polish-American family, on the other side was a Lithuanian-American family, and right in the middle there was a Southern or Appalachian family.&rdquo;</p><p>Matthew Byrd&rsquo;s grandparents, Glen and Linda Lambert, are among the Southerners who did well for themselves. Glen landed a job at S&amp;C Electric on his first full day in Chicago in 1969 and the couple lived north of Uptown, in Rogers Park. He worked at the company forty-three years and that stable, well-paying job (along with supplemental work from Linda) allowed them to move to a shady street in nearby Ravenswood in 1978, raise kids, and eventually retire to Kentucky.</p><p>Byrd is proud his home city provided opportunity and a better life to his grandparents and other Southerners, as it has for migrants and immigrants from countless places. But he thinks it&rsquo;s important to remember the <em>full</em> history, and believes the Chicago let down the thousands of white Southerners who were pushed out of Uptown by eviction and rising rents.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s success and there&rsquo;s failure,&rdquo; Byrd says. &ldquo;I think the failure means the next time a large group of people from another part of the country or world that&rsquo;s kind of maligned comes here, just do better by them than we did people from Appalachia or people Poland, Africa, Vietnam. Do better by them.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker_2.jpg" style="height: 291px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="Question-asker Matthew Byrd outside of the S&amp;C Electric Company, where his grandfather worked. (WBEZ/Jesse Dukes)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">About our questioner</span></p><p>Matthew Byrd has always been close to his grandparents, Glen and Linda Lambert. He grew up visiting extended family in West Virginia whenever possible, and pumping both of his grandparents for stories of what it was like coming to Chicago. He&rsquo;s a student at the University of Iowa, and already<a href="http://littlevillagemag.com/a-community-divided-racial-segregation-on-the-rise-in-iowa-city/"> working as a journalist</a> in Iowa City.</p><p>Byrd is well aware that he&rsquo;s probably in the last generation of his family to hear his grandparents&rsquo; stories of childhoods in West Virginia, or Chicago&rsquo;s &ldquo;Hillbilly Heaven&rdquo; of the 1960s.</p><p>&ldquo;My kids aren&rsquo;t going to have the same access to memories I had,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no physical remnants. &hellip; There&rsquo;s very few. The story is going to die soon, and I just wish more people could know about it.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a name="reading"></a>Jesse Dukes is Curious City&rsquo;s audio producer. He doesn&rsquo;t tweet, but follow <a href="https://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">@loganjaffe</a> (Curious City&rsquo;s multimedia producer) for occasional #IfJesseTweeted tweets.</em></p><hr /><p dir="ltr">Further reading on the topic of Appalachian migrants to Uptown:</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33518.Uptown_Poor_Whites_In_Chicago" target="_blank">Gitlin, Todd, and Nanci Hollander. <em>Uptown; Poor Whites in Chicago</em>. New York: Harper &amp; Row, 1970.</a></p><p><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11036817-hillbilly-nationalists-urban-race-rebels-and-black-power?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service" target="_blank">Sonnie, Amy, and James Donald Tracy. <em>Hillbilly Nationalists Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: The Rise of Community Organizing in America</em>. New York: Melville House, 2011..</a></p><p><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6036088-from-diversity-to-unity?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service" target="_blank">Guy, Roger. <em>From Diversity to Unity: Southern and Appalachian Migrants in Uptown Chicago, 1950-1970</em>. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2007.</a></p><p><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3522944-southern-migrants-northern-exiles" target="_blank">Berry, Chad.&nbsp;<em>Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles</em>. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2000.</a></p></p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/uptowns-moment-hillbilly-heaven-111964