WBEZ | Bronzeville http://www.wbez.org/tags/bronzeville Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Artist found inspiration in South Side jazz clubs http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/artist-found-inspiration-south-side-jazz-clubs-112646 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wbez.org/" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">One of the major artists of the Harlem Renaissance never actually lived in New York.</p><p dir="ltr">The painter Archibald Motley, Jr. called Chicago home for most of his life. That&rsquo;s where, starting in the 1920s, he became inspired by a vibrant South Side nightlife that is largely forgotten today.</p><p dir="ltr">Many of these paintings are on display now in the exhibit <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/motley.html">Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist</a> at the Chicago Cultural Center, but only through the end of August.</p><p dir="ltr">Motley was born in New Orleans in 1891. A few years later, his family moved to Chicago where his father worked as a Pullman porter. Motley had a middle class upbringing in Englewood and eventually attended the School of the Art Institute.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://drive.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/?tab=mo#folders/0By7E2pZ6aCZtSl9MWm1palVzeGc">Professor Richard Powell of Duke University</a>, the exhibit&rsquo;s curator, said shortly after graduation Motley began a lucrative career painting portraits.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;African Americans who were business folk, ministers, school teachers, people who have some disposable income where they wanted their portraits done,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;Archibald Motley filled that niche.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Motley soon began to paint not just his neighbors, but the neighborhoods themselves. Powell points to Motley&rsquo;s depiction of a bustling Bronzeville block in Black Belt from 1934.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;&lsquo;Black Belt&rsquo; was a sociological term that folks at the University of Chicago used to describe that part of Chicago where black people lived,&rdquo; Powell explained. &ldquo;[Motley] transforms it because there&rsquo;s nothing all that black and bleak about this painting.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Black Belt&rsquo;s vibrant street scene is crammed with men in dark suits and women in bright dresses. Curved black cars cruise under neon signs. According to Powell, Motley captures an energy that no photograph of that era could.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I love how we get in the background, the sky and the stars in the sky. But rather than getting horizon lines, he just blends it. We move from that wonderful blue sky to the mauve of the sidewalk,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a hint that this is not Realism 101. This is expressionism.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Powell thinks it may have been influenced by his studies at the Art Institute, as well as what he saw in 1929 during a six-month stay in Paris on a Guggenheim Fellowship.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He looked at the work of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, the French artist who worked in Belle Époque Paris. The place that had all the can-cans and cabarets,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;I think that Motley said &lsquo;there&rsquo;s something similar to that happening here in the South Side of Chicago.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Indeed, the Jazz Age in Chicago was in full swing at that time, filling nightclubs throughout the city.</p><p dir="ltr">In Motley&rsquo;s painting Saturday Night (1935), the dominant color is pomegranate red. A jazz combo plays to a crowded room of people drinking, laughing and talking. Lampshades dot tables where patrons lounge with martinis and cigarettes. A woman in a frilly dress sways to the music as waiters in white uniforms rush by with drink trays.</p><p>Powell said Motley captures the essence of the mood through color and technique.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s always this kind of energy between the figures and each other and how they interact with one another. Not in terms of a narrative but in terms of a composition,&rdquo; Powell said.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.mikeallemana.com/">Michael Allemana is a local musician and jazz historian</a>. He says the music scene back then was something everyone wanted to experience. There were nightclubs and theaters on nearly every block in some parts of the black South Side.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You didn&rsquo;t have TV, and radio was just starting to be a force,&rdquo; noted Allemana. &ldquo;Wherever you lived, you could walk to a club. Chicago was a magnet because there were opportunities for musicians to play here. It must have been so vibrant. And that&rsquo;s what I get out of [Motley&rsquo;s] paintings.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Places like the Platinum Lounge, Dreamland Cafe and Lincoln Gardens made up what was known as &ldquo;The Stroll&rdquo; &mdash; a nightlife district on State Street between 26th and 39th streets.</p><p dir="ltr">Those days are over, but there are still remnants of that era if you know where to look. &nbsp;</p><p>For instance, <a href="http://chicagopatterns.com/chicago-jazz-history-revealed-at-meyers-ace-hardware/">Meyers Ace Hardware store on E. 35th street</a>. Way in the back, past aisles of light bulbs and power tools, the store is hiding a secret past.</p><p dir="ltr">Manager Dave Meyers takes Powell and I up thin wooden stairs to his makeshift office. His father moved his old hardware store to this location in the 1960s.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Right now, we are on the bandstand. It went out six feet farther that way. In front of that was the stage.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">As Meyers opens the door, Powell&rsquo;s eyes widen as he gazes at a large crimson-colored mural on the back wall.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Oooh! Oh my goodness,&rdquo; Powell exclaimed. &ldquo;Oh wow!&rdquo;</p><p>The mural shows a white jazz saxophonist playing opposite an exotic-looking creature pounding a drum.</p><p dir="ltr">The painting was part of the Sunset Cafe later known as the Grand Terrace.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The club was known as a (black and) tan club,&rdquo; said Meyers. &ldquo;Because blacks and whites came here.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Meyers showed us pictures of Earl &lsquo;Fatha&rsquo; Hines, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and others who performed here and other nearby haunts.</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s not clear who painted the mural or when it went up. Powell thinks it might have been sometime in the 1940&rsquo;s. But he says Motley definitely went to the Sunset Cafe.</p><p dir="ltr">Powell reflected on what it was like to peek into Motley&rsquo;s past.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m speechless. That was amazing,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;You can get kind of a glimmer of maybe what was. Just a glimmer.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a> </em></p></p> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/artist-found-inspiration-south-side-jazz-clubs-112646 Could Chicago’s first statue of a woman be an Ida B. Wells monument in Bronzeville? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-07/could-chicago%E2%80%99s-first-statue-woman-be-ida-b-wells-monument <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Ida B Wells JAHHfile.png" alt="" /><p><p>As we pointed out recently on the Morning Shift, there are 48 statues or busts of men in Chicago&rsquo;s parks, but NONE of women.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s a group pushing for a monument to honor journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells. They want the statue erected in Bronzeville. The effort goes back four years and it hasn&rsquo;t been an easy one. Now, thanks to a new fundraising plans including a soon-to-be-launched Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, the group behind the project is more hopeful than ever that they&rsquo;ll be able to build a monument to one of Chicago&rsquo;s most accomplished women.</p><p>Michelle Duster, co-committee chair of the project and a writer who is also the great granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, and Tony Rogers, co-committee chair who&rsquo;s spearheading fundraising efforts, talk about the Ida B. Wells monument.</p></p> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 11:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-07/could-chicago%E2%80%99s-first-statue-woman-be-ida-b-wells-monument 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 Chicago's forgotten Civil War prison camp http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-forgotten-civil-war-prison-camp-111688 <p><p>When Chris Rowland&rsquo;s co-worker told him that Chicago was once home to a Civil War prison camp, he almost didn&rsquo;t believe it. But a bit of Googling led Chris to a name, Camp Douglas, and a location, Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood. It also led him to the camp&rsquo;s gloomy history, one that included dismal living conditions and a death toll that numbered in the thousands. Beyond that, though, Chris, a 36-year-old sales engineer at a South Side manufacturing company, found hardly any information about the camp. So he came to Curious City for help:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why was there a prison camp in Chicago during the Civil War and why did so many people die there? What happened to it?</em></p><p>Camp Douglas was one of the largest POW camps for the Union Army, located in the heart of Bronzeville. More than 40,000 troops passed through the camp during its nearly four years in operation. What&rsquo;s more &mdash; and this is where it gets gloomier &mdash; it&rsquo;s been hyperbolically remembered by some historians as the &ldquo;deadliest prison in American history&rdquo; and &ldquo;eighty acres of hell.&rdquo; So the fact that Chris, despite his earnest attempt, didn&rsquo;t find much on Camp Douglas interested Curious City, too. How could one of the deadliest Civil War prison camps virtually disappear from our collective memory? Answering this part of Chris&rsquo;s question had us consider how a city acknowledges the darker parts of its past and the benefits, if any, of remembering them at all.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why Chicago? </span></p><p>Located on the South Side of Chicago around 31st Street between Cottage Grove Avenue and present-day Martin Luther King Drive, Camp Douglas occupied roughly four square blocks &mdash; about 80 acres total &mdash; and operated from 1861 to 1865. Back then the area was the country, outside the city limits. Today, it&rsquo;s Bronzeville.</p><p>When it opened in 1861, Camp Douglas was a training and enlistment center for Union soldiers, a pit stop or starting point for soldiers headed to the battlefield. In other words, it had been improvised, and wasn&rsquo;t meant to hold prisoners or last more than a couple years. After all, no one thought the Civil War would go on as long as it did.</p><p>But then, in February 1862, Ulysses S. Grant captured roughly 5,000 Confederate soldiers in a victory at the Battle of Fort Donelson at the Tennessee-Kentucky border. With nowhere else for the captured troops to go, Camp Douglas became a Union Army prisoner-of-war camp, and it stayed one for the duration of the war.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">As it turns out, Chicago&rsquo;s role as a transportation hub made it an ideal location first for a training camp and, later, for a prison. Eight railroads crisscrossed the region in a spaghetti soup of tracks that allowed goods to move to and fro. Young men could travel from various parts of the state to enlist. From there, the Union Army would assemble regiments and brigades and ship soldiers by rail to the front lines.</div><p>What&rsquo;s more, the camp&rsquo;s location was directly off the Illinois Central Railroad. At the time, this was the longest railroad in the world, running from Cairo, Illinois, along the Ohio River, to Chicago. History buffs may recall that at the beginning of the war Cairo was General Grant&rsquo;s staging location for Union attacks on the Confederacy. Once he captured Confederate troops, they were only a steamboat and train ride away from Camp Douglas.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v4/curiouscity.l4pfhnm5/page.html?access_token=pk.eyJ1IjoiY3VyaW91c2NpdHkiLCJhIjoibGM3MUJZdyJ9.8oAw072QHl4POJ3fRQAItQ#13/41.8593/-87.6501" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/camp douglas map still.PNG" style="height: 291px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Camp Douglas sat on about 80 acres of land around what is now 31st Street between Cottage Grove Ave. and Martin Luther King Drive. Click for larger map." /></a>&ldquo;Camp Douglas was Chicago&rsquo;s principal connection to the Civil War,&rdquo; says Theodore Karamanski, a history professor at Loyola University in Chicago and the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Chicago-Eyewitness-History/dp/0821420844" target="_blank"><em>Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History</em></a>.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 24px;">&lsquo;Eighty acres of hell&rsquo;</span></p><p>Camp Douglas&rsquo; makeshift nature showed in its rickety wooden barracks and crude sewer system. Soon, though, the camp was taking on more and more prisoners and keeping them for longer and longer. But because neither side intended on taking large numbers of prisoners for extended periods of time, Camp Douglas &mdash; as well as most other Civil War prison camps &mdash; proved unprepared to handle them.</p><p>&ldquo;That is when all the prison camps got a lot nastier,&rdquo; Karamanski says.</p><p>The camp was meant for no more than 6,000 prisoners, and as its ranks grew to roughly 12,000 at its peak it became more dangerous than any battlefield. Overcrowding and poor sanitation spread diseases such as dysentery, smallpox, typhoid fever and tuberculosis. Illness became the camp&rsquo;s leading cause of death, claiming roughly 4,500 Confederate soldiers, or 17 percent of the total number of men imprisoned at the camp during its nearly four years in operation, according to Karamanski&rsquo;s estimate. In his book, Karamanski cites an 1862 report by the U.S. Sanitary Commission, wherein an agent admonished Camp Douglas for its &ldquo;foul stinks,&rdquo; &ldquo;unventilated and crowded barracks,&rdquo; and &ldquo;soil reeking of with miasmic accretions&rdquo; as &ldquo;enough to drive a sanitarian to despair.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="377" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ihNZ1PKt3yGIsJVdIok4GmOU27ZyCU_-xa6bQ5Tgvc4/embed?start=false&amp;loop=false&amp;delayms=5000" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Karamanski estimates that during the Civil War only one in three soldiers died on the battlefield. The rest died in prison camps or camps of their own army.</p><p>&ldquo;Disease was rampant in Camp Douglas and it was rampant in the Civil War. More people in the Civil War died of diseases than from bullets,&rdquo; says David Keller, the managing director of the <a href="http://www.campdouglas.org/" target="_blank">Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation</a> and the author of a forthcoming book about the history of the camp.</p><p>Still, Karamanski is quick to refute the claim that Camp Douglas was &ldquo;the deadliest prison camp in America,&rdquo; as some historians claim. &ldquo;Civil War prison camps were terrible,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;All of them were terrible.&rdquo;</p><p>While Camp Douglas may have claimed more Confederate lives than any other <em>Union</em> prison camp, it pales in comparison to Andersonville, a Confederate prison in Georgia that offered neither barracks nor fresh water to its Union prisoners. In all, 13,000 men, or 28 percent of the total prison population, perished there, Karamanski says.</p><p>Given these details, it&rsquo;s probably no surprise that escapes occurred regularly at the camp. Many escape attempts were made by digging tunnels into the soft, swampy ground, but most came from bribing the guards. It is estimated that roughly 500 prisoners escaped from Camp Douglas one way or another.</p><p>Again, security was lax because the camp had never been intended to hold prisoners. &ldquo;They barely had any kind of wall up,&rdquo; Karamanski says. &ldquo;Some of the prisoners would just wander off and say &lsquo;Hey, let&rsquo;s go get a drink.&rsquo;&rdquo; Drunk and emaciated soldiers (still wearing their Confederate garb), would be picked up by local police and hauled, stumbling, back to the camp. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Camp Douglas as local spectacle</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/women%20visiting.jpg" style="height: 459px; width: 620px;" title="When Camp Douglas was first opened, Chicagoans had free access to the site. Above, visitors with picnic baskets arrive at the camp. (Photo courtesy Chicago History Museum) " /></p><p>Recall that Chris, our question-asker, could find little about the camp &mdash; as though the place had become a secret. Secrecy was certainly not the case during the war, though. In the camp&rsquo;s early days, Chicago residents were allowed free access to the camp. &ldquo;People were excited that here was the enemy, tamed, incarcerated and for your viewing,&rdquo; Karamanski says. Sometimes, though, visitors &mdash; likely Confederate sympathizers &mdash; would end up walking out with a prisoner.</p><p>Soon, though, the camp tightened up security and stopped admitting visitors.</p><p>At that point, a local businessman got an idea. Utilizing a hotel across the street from the camp, he built a viewing platform where he charged customers 10 cents a pop to climb a stairway up to a wooden platform to catch a glimpse of the rebels. &ldquo;It was a real treat for a lot of kids to see those Confederates,&rdquo; Karamanski says.<a name="tower"></a></p><p><iframe align="middle" frameborder="0" height="421" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/cdmap.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em>Above: An 1864 illustration of Camp Douglas as seen from a Union observation tower, contrasted with a Google Earth view of the area today. The center bar can slide left or ride to hide or reveal either side.</em></p><p>When the Civil War concluded in the spring of 1865, Camp Douglas&rsquo; prisoners were given a set of clothes and a one-way train ticket out of the city. The camp itself was razed, rather quickly, by scavengers as well as the government, selling off the equipment as surplus. &nbsp;</p><p>When summer rolled around, though, &nbsp;the camp parade ground gave way to a new sport that returning union soldiers had learned during wartime: baseball. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Soldiers came back from the war and they&rsquo;d lost a lot of their youth,&rdquo; Karamanski says. &ldquo;Some of the first baseball games by Chicago&rsquo;s elite teams were played at Camp Douglas. ... It helped erase some of the memories of the war.&rdquo;</p><p>But Karamanski suspects baseball may have helped erase part of a larger memory, too: public memory, or in this case, the way a city tells the story of itself.</p><p>For the most part, the history of that memory nearly had Camp Douglas written out.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Remembering the forgotten</span></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/oak%20woods%20plot%20for%20web.jpg" style="height: 409px; width: 620px;" title="A monument in Oak Woods Cemetery at 67th Street and Cottage Grove marks the largest mass grave in the Western Hemisphere, or where roughly 4,000 Confederate soldiers who died at Camp Douglas are buried. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>When we first meet Chris, our Curious Citizen, it&rsquo;s a bitterly cold day in late January and we stand on what Keller and others claim is the largest mass grave in the Western Hemisphere:<a href="http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/Illinois/Confederate_Mound_Oak_Woods_Cemetery.html" target="_blank"> a mound of roughly 4,000 Confederate soldiers</a> who died at Camp Douglas, now buried at Oak Woods Cemetery at 67th Street and Cottage Grove. (The soldiers had originally been buried in City Cemetery, now Lincoln Park. But soon after the war, the city thought better of placing the dead so close to Lake Michigan &mdash; Chicago&rsquo;s principal source of drinking water. That cemetery was closed and the Confederate soldiers were moved to Oak Woods, the only cemetery that would accept them.)</p><p>Staring up at the forty-foot-tall bronze and granite memorial where a despondent-looking Confederate soldier stands atop a granite column, bowing his head in remembrance, Chris asks: &nbsp;&ldquo;So why do you think it was forgotten about? Why was it swept under the rug?&rdquo;</p><p>First off, <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/curiouscity/chicagofire/" target="_blank">the Great Chicago Fire </a>came just six years after Camp Douglas closed, sapping resources and shifting the city&rsquo;s priority away from the South Side. Then came the Great Migration, where hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated North on the same railroad that once transported soldiers from Camp Douglas to the front lines of the Civil War. When they arrived in Chicago, African Americans began settling in Bronzeville. It&rsquo;s safe to say probably the last thing on their mind was exploring their neighborhood&rsquo;s lost history, centering on those who had previously fought to keep them enslaved. Then came the post World War II housing shortage and the urban renewal of the 1960s. &ldquo;There was a lot of reason to forget about it,&rdquo; Keller says of the camp.</p><p>But at the center of this question of why Camp Douglas was forgotten is the obvious tension of an African-American neighborhood and a city rooted in Union ideals taking steps to remember thousands of dead soldiers who fought on the side to uphold slavery.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think you can&rsquo;t ever discount the impact of race on Chicago memory,&rdquo; Karamanski says. &ldquo;So when dealing with the memory of oppression and racism &nbsp;&mdash; &nbsp;which is what the Civil War represents &nbsp;&mdash; &nbsp;it&rsquo;s never going to be something that&rsquo;s broadly consensual because it&rsquo;s a <em>felt </em>history.&rdquo;</p><p>And that strife over how to remember what happened at Camp Douglas didn&rsquo;t come about over time. There was deep-rooted animosity toward the Confederate cause from the moment the war ended.</p><p>In 1895, the night before President Grover Cleveland and his entire cabinet presided over the dedication of the memorial in Oak Woods, the monument was defaced by vandals. Later, a private citizen erected a more permanent protest, which still stands; just yards away from the memorial to the dead rebel soldiers a large granite marker honors those Southerners who resisted secession as &ldquo;martyrs of human freedom.&rdquo;</p><p>The issue reared itself again in 1992, when The Commission on Chicago Landmarks proposed to make the Oak Woods mound a historic landmark, drawing the ire of black alderman. &ldquo;Here is a group of people who looked upon my people as animals, as subhuman,&rdquo; then-Alderman Allen Streeter <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-10-02/news/9203300191_1_landmark-status-civil-war-monument" target="_blank">told the <em>Chicago Tribune</em></a>. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d rather forget about the whole thing,&rdquo; he added.</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/sign%20and%20funeral%20home.jpg" title="The first official acknowledgment of Camp Douglas was erected in the fall of 2014 outside of Ernie Griffin's former funeral home at 32nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>That&rsquo;s the same year that Ernie Griffin got involved. He ran the Griffin Funeral home at 32nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive &mdash; right smack on the former camp&rsquo;s site. The African-American funeral operator learned his grandfather had enlisted in the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry at Camp Douglas. Griffin decided, much to the neighborhood&rsquo;s chagrin, to erect a memorial to honor the dead rebels. It included a Confederate battle flag flown at half-mast. &ldquo;This was like an incitement to many African Americans,&rdquo; Karamanski says. After the flag kept getting torn down, Griffin took out an ad in the <em>Chicago Defender</em>, the city&rsquo;s African-American newspaper. In his book, Karamanski quotes Griffin, saying, &ldquo;The flag is not a symbol of hate. It is a symbol of respect for a dead human being.&rdquo; Griffin has since died, and the memorial was taken down when the funeral home closed in 2007.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Remembering the cost of victory</span></p><p>According to Karamanski, one of the most important things to keep in mind while trying to preserve history is the way we tell stories about the past ... as well as who tells them.</p><p>&ldquo;If we try to memorialize Camp Douglas in such a way that we don&rsquo;t share the story, share the authority in creating the site with the people in the community, then you&rsquo;re asking for trouble,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a lesson being considered by Bernard Turner and David Keller, directors of the <a href="http://www.campdouglas.org/" target="_blank">Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation</a>, which plans to build a museum somewhere on the site of the former camp. Keller says they are &ldquo;very, very close&rdquo; to being able to announce a location.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s important to know what&rsquo;s in your neighborhood,&rdquo; says Turner.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s building community pride,&rdquo; adds Ke<span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Cambria; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">ller.</span></p><p>After the rocky attempts to memorialize Camp Douglas and the soldiers who died there, seeking to remember Camp Douglas has been going more smoothly lately. &nbsp;In 2014 the foundation helped persuade the Illinois Historical Society to erect the first official acknowledgement of the camp: a small plaque at 32nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive informing residents and passersby that they are in fact walking upon significant history. The foundation&rsquo;s also included the local public school, Pershing East, in its various projects, which include two archeological digs of the site. And it has discussed its efforts with the <a href="http://www.dusablemuseum.org/" target="_blank">DuSable Museum of African American History</a>.</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/SHERRY%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Sherry Williams, president of the Bronzeville Historical Society, says it's important to remember Camp Douglas as not only a prison camp, but also a place where black union soldiers and confederate prisoners intersected. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>For Sherry Williams, president of the Bronzeville Historical Society, there&rsquo;s potential in telling stories about Camp Douglas that move beyond its brutal legacy.</p><p>&ldquo;We look at the Camp Douglas story as being told just about the miserable conditions that were faced by these prisoners of war, but there are wider stories to need to be expounded on,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not one narrative, it&rsquo;s multiple narratives.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>One such narrative hits close to Williams. After looking into the camp&rsquo;s death records, she discovered that a soldier named S.G. Cooper died at the camp. He was a Southerner whose family owned her direct ancestor, Nero Cooper, a former slave who enlisted in the Union&rsquo;s African-American infantry. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a tie between Confederate soldiers and the Union black soldiers,&rdquo; Williams says. &ldquo;Here&rsquo;s the intersection of the fight for freedom.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Karamanski says, it&rsquo;s okay if the way we remember Camp Douglas is kind of dark.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s true that Camp Douglas is a dark shadow on Chicago&rsquo;s history. But it also reminds us what the Civil War was about,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;You didn&rsquo;t go ahead and end slavery without a fight. But we&rsquo;re honest only if we really understand the cost that victory &nbsp;&mdash; &nbsp;of saving the union and ending slavery.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker_1.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Curious Citizen Chris Rowland, right, at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">Chris Rowland, Curious Citizen</span></p><p>Chris Rowland is a 36-year-old sales engineer at a South Side manufacturing company. He lives in Uptown and was reading <em><a href="http://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/utc/" target="_blank">Uncle Tom&rsquo;s Cabin</a></em> when he got to thinking about the Civil War and what connection Chicago might have to it.</p><p>The topic then presented itself at work. &ldquo;One of the guys mentioned that there was actually a prison camp in the actual city in Chicago,&rdquo; he says. Except, &ldquo;nobody could remember what the actual name of it was.&rdquo;</p><p>He says one of the guys thought the name might have been Camp Burnham. Another guy thought the camp &nbsp;was called the Andersonville Prison, confusing the name of Chicago&rsquo;s North Side neighborhood with the famous civil war prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia.</p><p>But when Rowland searched a bit more on Google, he learned about the camp&rsquo;s real name, but not much else. When he submitted us this question about a year and a half ago, he says he was surprised at how difficult it was to find any information about Camp Douglas.</p><p>And though he&rsquo;s not a Chicago-native &mdash; or a history buff, he says &mdash; learning more about Camp Douglas, Chicago and the Civil War has put a bit of his own life into perspective.</p><p>&ldquo;I grew up in Oklahoma,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We weren&rsquo;t even a state yet.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Meribah Knight is a freelance journalist in Chicago and reports for WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City. Follow her at <a href="http://www.meribahknight.com/" target="_blank">meribahknight.com</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/meribah" target="_blank">@meribah</a>.</em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of where Mr. Nero Cooper had enlisted in the Union Army. According to Sherry Williams, he enlisted in the Union Army in Tennessee.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-forgotten-civil-war-prison-camp-111688 Campus police: real deal or rent-a-cops? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071 <p><p>Say you are driving around Chicago and you happen to run a red light. There are no Chicago police officers around, but there is a university police car right behind you. Could you still get a ticket?</p><p>That&rsquo;s exactly what Jef Johnson was wondering when he started noticing University of Chicago Police Department cars all over his Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the question Jef sent our way:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Are police forces at local universities real police or simply security companies? How much policing power do they have?</em></p><p>We found a straightforward legal answer about how this works in Illinois. There is a spectrum of authority that ranges from security guard to all-out cop. At the far end of that spectrum are Jef&rsquo;s own University of Chicago police. He didn&rsquo;t know it at the time but UCPD is almost unique, with a particularly strong hand when it comes to power and jurisdiction. Those officers don&rsquo;t just protect students, staff and campus &mdash; the UCPD serves as the primary police force for 65,000 Chicagoans, and most are not affiliated with the university.</p><p>That prompted a question that should interest anyone, even those who never encounter these officers: How can a private police force get jurisdiction over so much of the public?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not your father&rsquo;s rent-a-cops</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with that legal distinction we found. If you&rsquo;re anything like Jef, you probably assume that campus police officers aren&rsquo;t real police, and they have little authority other than the power to break up rowdy parties.</p><p>&ldquo;I always thought somehow that they were rent-a-cops,&rdquo; Jef said.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not always the case, according Cora Beem, who manages mandated training for the<a href="http://www.ptb.state.il.us/aboutus.htm" target="_blank"> Illinois Law Enforcement Standards &amp; Training Board</a>. She said the big distinction to be made is between campus security guards and campus police. The latter undergo the same basic training and certification that state and municipal police officers do. With that certification, they have the same authority as any other police officer in the state, even if they are privately employed.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; public universities employ campus police, but private universities can choose to hire plain old security guards. Those guards might be armed, but they don&rsquo;t have the power to give Jef Johnson a ticket, and they certainly cannot patrol off campus.</p><p>Like many private schools in Illinois, the University of Chicago voluntarily upgraded its security force to a police force 25 years ago. According to Beem, that means they are definitely not rent-a-cops.</p><p>&ldquo;They can write you a ticket. They can arrest you,&rdquo; Beem explained. &ldquo;They can counsel and release you, so yes, they&rsquo;re real cops.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction</span></p><p><iframe height="480" src="https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/embed?mid=zD1cveoHRWh8.kfGTEakNbuXk" width="620"></iframe></p><p>With more than 100 full-time officers, the University of Chicago&rsquo;s police department is one of the largest private police forces anywhere. Not only that, UCPD also has a really big patrol area &mdash; they cover 6.5 square miles, most of which is beyond the core of the University of Chicago&#39;s South Side campus.</p><p>But why can UCPD officers patrol so far from campus in the mid-South Side? According to Craig Futterman, a clinical professor of law at University of Chicago Law School, the department&rsquo;s status is almost unique.</p><p>&ldquo;The deal is that there is a city ordinance in Chicago that grants the police superintendent the power to appoint special policemen for the city of Chicago,&rdquo; he explained.</p><p>This <a href="http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Illinois/chicago_il/title4businessesoccupationsandconsumerpr/chapter4-340specialpolicemenandsecurityg?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_Ch.4-340" target="_blank">ordinance allows private police forces to assume the powers and responsibilities of municipal police</a>, not just on campus but in surrounding neighborhoods. UCPD is only one of two private forces in Chicago with this &ldquo;special police&rdquo; designation. The other force is that of Northwestern University Law School, but its <a href="http://directives.chicagopolice.org/attachments/S12-01_Att2.jpg" target="_blank">patrol area extends just a few blocks beyond its Streeterville campus </a>north of Chicago&rsquo;s Loop.</p><p>Once the ordinance was passed in 1992, UCPD negotiated its extended jurisdiction with Chicago&rsquo;s police superintendent. To the north, University of Chicago&rsquo;s main campus stops at 55th Street. UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction, however, extends all the way to 37th Street, even farther than Jef Johnson&rsquo;s home in Bronzeville.</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/u%20of%20c%20charters.png" title="University of Chicago's Woodlawn Charter School, left, and Donoghue Charter School, right, are on the southern and northern ends of UCPD's extended jurisdiction. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ) " /></div><p>Futterman says Chicago&#39;s police superintendent has granted UCPD more independence than it once had. In years&nbsp;past, university police needed administrative assistance to complete arrests.</p><p>&ldquo;The arrest, though, would be formalized and would be processed at a local chicago police department district station, usually whatever district the arrest was because UCPD operated in more than one Chicago police district,&rdquo; Futterman explained. Last year that changed. Now UCPD reports directly to the state and can process arrests independently. According to the university, this arrangement allows both departments to operate more efficiently.</p><p>Maintaining a large police force is expensive, but the university says its worth it. On this, an emailed statement from the UCPD reads: &ldquo;The extended patrol area enhances safety and security through the mid-South Side, which is home to a large number of University of Chicago faculty members, students and staff.&rdquo; The statement mentions the university&rsquo;s interest in protecting its charter schools and other properties within the extended patrol area.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The community speaks</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/meeting%20WEB.jpg" title="University of Chicago students and South Side residents held a forum October 29, 2014, at Hyde Park's Experimental Station to discuss UCPD's presence in their neighborhoods. (WBEZ/Ellen Mayer)" /></p><p>UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction doesn&rsquo;t just include university students and employees; again, the department protects approximately 65,000 residents. How do they feel about UCPD&rsquo;s presence in their neighborhoods?</p><p>On Wednesday, October 29, <a href="http://www.experimentalstation.org/" target="_blank">Hyde Park&rsquo;s Experimental Station</a> held a forum for students and South Side residents to discuss exactly that. Organizers also invited former UCPD chief Rudy Nimocks. He was at the helm when UCPD expanded its jurisdiction. As he recalls it, the university received community support as it broadened its jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;We had public hearings,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We were asked to come in. At each one of the sessions I said, &lsquo;We&rsquo;ll stay here as long as you want us.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s how it&rsquo;s been ever since.&rdquo;</p><p>Nimocks has a point. Almost every speaker at the community forum expressed gratitude that UCPD has made their neighborhoods safer. That being said, almost every speaker also had a story to tell about UCPD racially profiling black residents who live within the extended jurisdiction.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/triggs%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="float: left; height: 246px; width: 370px;" title="Jamel Triggs, who attended the recent forum on neighborhood UCPD presence, says he's been stopped by UCPD six times since returning from the Marine Corps in May. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ)" />Jamel Triggs, a young black man who works at the Experimental Station&rsquo;s bike shop, said he had been stopped by UCPD six times since he returned from the Marine Corps in May. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re supposed to be protecting and serving us. That&rsquo;s supposed to be the goal,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Triggs, the neighborhood doesn&rsquo;t feel safer if he has to worry about being stopped by UCPD. He said he is also concerned about the safety of the younger kids he mentors at the bike shop. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want these kids walking around being scared of the police and being scared of the gangbangers out in the streets,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because I was, and it hurts.&rdquo;</p><p>A student group called South Side Solidarity Network has launched a campaign to end perceived racial profiling by UCPD. The trouble is, all their evidence is anecdotal. To firm up accusations of wrongdoing, SSSN has asked UCPD to release records indicating the race of residents the department stops and searches. So far, the department has refused.</p><p>Another emailed statement responds to accusations of racial profiling. &ldquo;The University of Chicago Police Department does not deploy tactics that support racial profiling,&rdquo; it states. &ldquo;As a department, we often and openly discuss our policing strategies to ensure our officers are not engaging deliberately or inadvertently in bias-based policing.&rdquo;</p><p>Without releasing records and data, however, UCPD is asking the public to take them at their word.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Private police and public accountability</span></p><p>This is where Jef Johnson&rsquo;s curiosity about &nbsp;potential traffic stops in Bronzeville morphed into a much bigger question about the transparency and accountability of a private police force. The 1992 Chicago ordinance that allows for the creation of special police includes technical language about certificates and licensing fees, but it doesn&rsquo;t address the public&rsquo;s right to information when a private force takes on the responsibilities of municipal police. UCPD is not a governmental agency, therefore it is not required to release records under Illinois&rsquo; Freedom of Information Act.</p><p>The University of Chicago does have a <a href="http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/police/contact_the_ucpd/complaint_process/" target="_blank">process for investigating complaints against UCPD</a>, but that process will soon get an overhaul. Until now, all investigations were performed in-house, by a fellow UCPD officer. In response to <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140311/hyde-park/university-of-chicago-police-no-longer-accountable-petition-claims" target="_blank">criticism about UCPD&rsquo;s perceived lack of oversight</a>, the university recently announced the hiring of a new director of professional accountability. This new position will not be filled by a uniformed officer.</p><p>So what did Jef think about all this?</p><p>&ldquo;This is much bigger than I thought when I asked the question,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I worry about a private police force. It just sounds like maybe we&rsquo;re handing too much power to them.&rdquo; Jef said he is most concerned that the average Chicagoan might never know that UCPD had such a huge jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s scary in that sense,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just finding this out, and I&rsquo;ve been living in this area ten years.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jef.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 5px;" title="Jef Johnson asked our question about university police after noticing UCPD officers far from campus. (Photo courtesy of Jef Johnson)" />Judging by the number of questions Jef Johnson has submitted to our <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">list of question-based story pitches</a>, he is one very curious guy. (For the record, that would be seven ... and counting!) If you haven&rsquo;t run across any of his questions we haven&rsquo;t answered yet, you might remember Jef as the truck enthusiast who launched <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-why-ban-pickups-lake-shore-drive-where-can-they-park-104631" target="_blank">our investigation about pickup truck laws in Chicago</a>.</p><p>It turns out this question about university police was also inspired by Jef&rsquo;s driving habits. He says he first began wondering about UCPD&rsquo;s authority on a day when President Barack Obama was visiting his home in the Kenwood neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;They blocked off a lot of my streets, so I was taking some back streets and I saw University of Chicago Police cars in areas that seem far away from the University of Chicago.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>When Jef isn&rsquo;t thinking up questions for Curious City, he&rsquo;s a wedding minister employed by the city of Chicago.</p><p><em>Ellen Mayer is the Curious City intern. Follow her on Twitter at<a href="http://twitter.com/cementley" target="_blank"> @</a>ellenrebeccam.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071 Digging up the history of a Civil War camp on Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/digging-history-civil-war-camp-chicagos-south-side-110969 <p><p dir="ltr">For days now, students and volunteers have dug up parts of a Bronzeville school yard on South Giles Avenue. They worked inside a bright orange net on a grassy field next to Pershing East Magnet School. This was once the southwest corner of Camp Douglas... and they&rsquo;re looking for proof.</p><p dir="ltr">Chris Brink is one of about a dozen DePaul University students and alumni which worked with the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. So far, there&rsquo;s been four digs of the 60-acre site. It&rsquo;s believed over 30,000 union soldiers trained and lived here before heading East for battle.</p><p dir="ltr">Previous digs have turned up a few nails, glass, and what they believe to be the main building&rsquo;s foundation.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/keller.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="David Keller, the managing director of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. (Andrew Gill/WBEZ) " />David Keller is with the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. He said the problem with a dig like this, in an urban area, is that things have been built and torn down, sewers have been put in, lights have been erected and a lot of the historical stuff has been disrupted.</p><p dir="ltr">The goal of the excavation is to uncover enough relics to fill the museum they plan to build. But it&rsquo;s also a lesson in how history is recorded. Most of the primary sources of the camp come from old letters and <em>Chicago Tribune</em> stories.</p><p dir="ltr">And Brink said relics could paint a better picture of daily life at the camp.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It sheds light on to stuff that&rsquo;s not in the history books. So, basically we are rewriting history,&rdquo; Brink said. &ldquo;And to do that, you need to go out and find it.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">And this includes the darker parts of the sites history; its reputation as a &ldquo;death camp.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">After the Union captured Tennessee&rsquo;s Fort Donelson, the federal government needed to find places to house thousands of confederate prisoners. A third of Camp Douglas&rsquo;s 200 buildings housed POWs.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/turner.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Bernard Turner, a director of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" />And many of these confederate soldiers were not used to Chicago&rsquo;s harsh winters. Thousands died of pneumonia, smallpox and malaria.</p><p dir="ltr">The Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation&rsquo;s Bernard Turner said many historians don&rsquo;t want to think about their archeological site.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A lot of people see the sign &lsquo;Camp Douglas&rsquo;, and they have a negative feeling about it,&quot; Turner said. &ldquo;And so what we&rsquo;re trying to do is let everyone know, that is not the only part of the story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Turner is focused on community outreach, which included a partnership with the surrounding public schools.</p><p dir="ltr">They had local third graders sift through the dirt, while seventh graders wrote stories on the findings.</p><p dir="ltr">Turner said one of the biggest problems they had in engaging the community was that young people, particularly of color, don&rsquo;t know the history of their own neighborhoods.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In this particular case, they go to school here and they don&rsquo;t even know what&rsquo;s right under their own noses,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">And right under their noses, is another forgotten part of Camp Douglas&rsquo;s history.</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/embed4.jpg" title="(Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" /></div><p dir="ltr">This was one of the few Union camps that received and trained some of the around 180,000 African-American soldiers who fought in the war.</p><p dir="ltr">Turner and Keller highlighted this link because it gave students a sense of pride and connection to their past.</p><p dir="ltr">Keller said the goal is to have the community get a better sense of its own history.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You really are digging a timeline of the community. So, it&rsquo;s just as important for us what we find from the Bronzeville area,&rdquo; Keller said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="226" scrolling="no" src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/ShamelessBestBison" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);" width="402"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size:10px;">Above: Volunteers show the excavation process as they hunt for remains of the Camp Douglas prisoner of war camp.</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr">Southside Resident Sir Cedric Liggens helped with the dig.</p><p dir="ltr">He said people from the community would stop, ask questions, and seemed to take a general interest in what they were doing</p><p dir="ltr">Liggens enjoyed the process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s human record. And It&rsquo;s going back and reviewing your own records,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;What was here, what happened, who was here, who did what. And it&rsquo;s a really good way to learn something from what already happened.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Monday, for the first time in over 150 years, the community raises an official marker commemorating the site.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Corrected Oct. 21: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of African American soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War. The correct number is around 180,000.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Claudia Morell covers business as a WBEZ intern. You can follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/claudiamorell" target="_blank">@claudiamorell</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/digging-history-civil-war-camp-chicagos-south-side-110969 Bronzeville's vibrant past comes to life in new art exhibit http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bronzevilles-vibrant-past-comes-life-new-art-exhibit-110184 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Bronzeville art 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Bronzeville on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side was once home to cultural giants like Nat King Cole and Gwendolyn Brooks. But a current art exhibit reveals another side of the neighborhood.</p><p><a href="http://www.hydeparkart.org/exhibitions/samantha-hill-topographical-depictions-of-the-bronzeville-renaissance">&ldquo;Topographical Depictions of the Bronzeville Renaissance&rdquo; </a>by Samantha Hill is currently on display at the Hyde Park Art Center.</p><p>Family pictures of ordinary people drape the walls. Period music and oral recorded interviews play in the background. Old photographs are clipped to clotheslines.</p><p>&ldquo;I like the idea of the clotheslines because it kind of simulates a timeline but I can play with it a bit more. I like the idea of hanging the pictures like I&rsquo;m hanging laundry. These are peoples&rsquo; personal memories and artifacts,&rdquo; Hill said.</p><p>The date of the pictures range from 1919 to 1985 and were supplied by the <a href="http://bronzevillehistoricalsociety.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Bronzeville Historical Society</a>. Hill said she chose pictures that conveyed the feeling of Bronzeville &ndash; children preparing for communion, men returning from war, couples at nightclubs or a grandfather reading a book.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s quite a few photographs of this gentleman named Earl Washington,&rdquo; Hill noted. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll see throughout the decades he&rsquo;s always doing handstands so there&rsquo;s like a million photographs of that!&rdquo;</p><p>Visitors can respond by writing post-it notes around the photos. As the exhibit draws to a close, Hill said more than 200 post-its have now taken over the gallery. And there&rsquo;s still time for the public to share their brief ruminations.</p><p>&ldquo;I hope they come in, listen to the stories, view the photographs throughout history and then be transported to another period of time, and hopefully leave their mark as well.&rdquo;</p><p><em>The exhibit closes May 18. The Hyde Park Art Center is at 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Hill&#39;s installation is a satellite exhibition of a city-wide project produced at Columbia College called &ldquo;RISK: Empathy, Art and Social Practice&quot; colum.edu/risk. </em></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></em></p><p><em>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> Wed, 14 May 2014 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bronzevilles-vibrant-past-comes-life-new-art-exhibit-110184 Mariano's plans to open store in Bronzeville http://www.wbez.org/news/marianos-plans-open-store-bronzeville-110181 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/grocery-store_140514_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mariano&rsquo;s, the deluxe grocery chain that&rsquo;s swiftly spreading throughout the Chicago region, is planning a store in Bronzeville.</p><p>The new store will offer fresh food to a neighborhood starved for better options. Mariano&rsquo;s is expected create 400 jobs and start construction in 2015 at 39th and King Drive, the site of the former Ida B. Wells public housing development. For several years the grassy land has been empty and behind it sits the Oakwood Shores mixed-income housing development.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he&rsquo;s been working with CEO Bob Mariano to open the eponymous chain throughout the city.</p><p>&ldquo;I think he felt while it&rsquo;s not a quote unquote traditional food desert, it is underrepresented and given the population, it&rsquo;s a prime market,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;This is a first of a number of stores over a number of years that he&rsquo;s going to be producing on the South Side.&rdquo;</p><p>Mariano&rsquo;s has taken the grocery market by storm, recently snapping up several closed Dominick&rsquo;s. In 2013, just four Mariano&rsquo;s operated in the city of Chicago. By the end of this year there will be 29 stores in the city and suburbs.</p><p>Bronzeville is a historic black neighborhood that&rsquo;s struggled to realize a full renaissance over the last two decades. A full-service grocery store has long been on the neighborhood wish list. Many residents shop in the South Loop or Hyde Park for quality groceries. Or they rely on small corner stores. In 2009, the Milwaukee-based Roundy&#39;s Supermarket &ndash; the parent company of Mariano&rsquo;s &ndash; announced a store at 39th and State Street. It never happened.</p><p>&ldquo;Our community welcomes stores like this that will encourage job growth while reusing vacant land for community purposes. The store will bring new employment opportunities for our residents and turn a vacant parcel of land into a bustling destination for people throughout the Bronzeville area to shop. Additionally, our community needs more retail developments like Mariano&rsquo;s that will generate taxes, serve our residents and welcome visitors to our area,&rdquo; said Stephen Mitchell a resident who&rsquo;s part of the Bronzeville Neighborhood Collaborative.</p><p>The mayor said no tax increment financing dollars, or TIFs, will be used to bankroll the project. Johnson and Lee Architects, a minority-owned architecture firm, has been tapped for the 74,000-sq. ft. store. The development is a joint venture between John Bonds of Safeway Construction and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.&nbsp;</p><p>The deal hinges on a land sale agreement with the Chicago Housing Authority, which has lagged behind in its mixed-income housing strategy and thus has large swaths of unused land. CHA has been considering other uses for open land. The developer has agreed to purchase the property for $5.5 million after a quibble over the worth of the land. The CHA board is expected to approve the sale at next week&rsquo;s meeting.</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. Email her at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a><u>.</u>&nbsp;Follow her on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 14 May 2014 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/marianos-plans-open-store-bronzeville-110181 Englewood, Bronzeville wait for mayor’s ‘opportunity’ plan to pay off http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-bronzeville-wait-mayor%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98opportunity%E2%80%99-plan-pay-108297 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/opportunity neighborhood_130806_nm.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Englewood and Bronzeville are two black, South Side neighborhoods facing unique yet separate challenges.</p><p>Englewood is decades off from anything close to resembling gentrification. The neighborhood is known more for its crime, poverty and vast swaths of empty land starved for development. Historic Bronzeville is close to Lake Michigan and downtown. A new, black middle class bought and rehabbed stunning greystones. Yet retail and amenities have greatly lagged.</p><p>Both of these communities could use a boost and that&rsquo;s what Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is now promising.</p><p>Last spring, Emanuel designated seven city neighborhoods as so-called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2013/march_2013/mayor_emanuel_announcesopportunityareasaspartoflong-termstrategi.html" target="_blank">opportunity areas</a>.&rdquo; The idea was to target public and private development in these communities to help attract much needed investment. Englewood and Bronzeville are two of the communities, but some residents there still aren&rsquo;t clear on what the opportunity strategy means.</p><p>&ldquo;I wanted to approach our neighborhood development strategy different. In a more coordinated fashion. I said we have an unprecedented amount of infrastructure investment. We should bring coordinated investment for greater value for our neighborhoods,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s plan for the neighborhoods is long on hope but short on details. Some of what he&rsquo;s touting was already in the works. So how does this new opportunity designation actually help these areas?</p><p>Let&rsquo;s visit Englewood first.</p><p>On a recent summer Saturday some residents got together in Sherwood Park, which has a reputation for being dangerous. Englewood activist Asiaha Butler was there helping facilitate what she calls &ldquo;positive loitering.&rdquo; As children ran in an open field, Frankie Beverly and Maze&rsquo;s &ldquo;Happy Feelin&rsquo;s&rdquo; blared over the DJ&rsquo;s speakers.</p><p>&ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t shocked that Englewood would be a target place. We&rsquo;re the poster child of the urban area gone wrong. So if you had any type of opportunities or things from the mayor, I definitely think we&rsquo;d be the ones chosen for that,&rdquo; Butler said.</p><p>As part of the opportunity strategy Emanuel said his office will help develop 2,500 city-owned vacant lots in Englewood. That could mean the kind of urban agriculture that has already turned some empty lots into vegetable gardens &ndash; in an area overrun with fast-food joints. Butler said she&rsquo;s fine with that model, to a degree.</p><p>&ldquo;What I&rsquo;m afraid of is that is that it may be too much,&rdquo; Butler said. &ldquo;That scares me a little bit because I&rsquo;m not a farmer and I don&rsquo;t know what to do with all this land. I&rsquo;d like to see more activities in these spaces and not just gardens; I think it could be something more,&rdquo; she continued.</p><p>But according to Butler, the city&rsquo;s top-down approach hasn&rsquo;t left much room for community input. She says resident leaders aren&rsquo;t in the loop about future plans or an overall vision for the neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;I would want to see more sitting areas with the vacant lots. Definitely more retail and the commercial corridor district and even developing more commercial retail,&rdquo; Butler said.</p><p>One of Emanuel&rsquo;s bullet points for Englewood is a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-residents-fight-environmental-safeguards-during-rail-yard-expansion-105823" target="_blank">railyard expansion by Norfolk Southern</a> that&rsquo;s supposed to inject economic vitality. But the controversial project will demolish homes in Englewood and could lead to an increase in air pollution.</p><p>Another bullet point is leveraging Kennedy-King College as a community anchor on 63rd Street. But that&rsquo;s been a struggle ever since the new facility opened several years ago, and it&rsquo;s not clear how the opportunity area will change that.</p><p>One thing that might help neighborhood development is tax increment financing, or TIFs. It&rsquo;s a tool that collects local property taxes from specific areas and then puts it in a fund with little oversight. Originally created to eradicate blight, TIFs tend to go to the rich and well-connected.</p><p>A close look at TIFs over the past decade in Englewood and Bronzeville&nbsp; &ndash; neighborhoods with no shortage of blight &ndash; shows no major retail activity. Most of the Bronzeville area TIFs helped build new mixed-income housing after the city demolished public-housing high rises.</p><p>&ldquo;Millions of dollars spent on primarily affordable housing, which is very important,&rdquo; says Bronzeville entrepreneur Bernard Loyd. But Loyd continued, &ldquo;If it is the only investment in the community, it&rsquo;s going to dramatically skew development in a direction that ultimately is not productive for the community.&rdquo;</p><p>Loyd&rsquo;s using TIF money for something other than housing. In 2010, the city council approved three million dollars in TIF funds for Loyd&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.urban-juncture.com/index.html" target="_blank">Urban Juncture</a>, which will be four restaurants with food from the African diaspora. The project, on 51st Street, will be a much needed oasis in a food desert.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not built yet, but the site is already an urban garden with kale and tomatoes and cooking pavillion.&nbsp; And a place where children can play tic tac toe and dominoes.</p><p>Still, Loyd&rsquo;s not sure what the city&rsquo;s larger vision is for the area.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re all excited to have Bronzeville named as an opportunity neighborhood and we would all agree that Bronzeville indeed is an opportunity neighborhood, so many unfilled needs. At the same time, I have yet to see a plan. There&rsquo;s language about opportunity but not much of a plan that says here&rsquo;s how we will capture the opportunity, here&rsquo;s how we will facilitate investment,&rdquo; Loyd said.</p><p>Another TIF project in Bronzeville is underway at 47th and Cottage Grove. Construction crews are building a Wal-Mart. Emanuel says he lured the retail giant as part of his Bronzeville plan &ndash; with hopes that it will spur additional retail investment. Right now some low-income and middle-class residents have to leave their South Side community just to go to a grocery store.</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to ignore the race factor when looking at the lack of economic development in black communities. So I directly asked Emanuel about the stigmatization of race on the South Side.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, there&rsquo;s an economic and racial piece. On the other hand, our investment in Bronzeville will give some of the retailers &ndash; because it has all of the potential there &ndash; the confidence to come. They want to know it&rsquo;s stable and it&rsquo;s growing. We&rsquo;re not going to invest unless we also have that confidence and we&rsquo;re going to invest to give them the confidence to come to a Bronzeville,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>The mayor says that will soon include a deluxe grocery store on 39th Street.</p><p>But so far Mariano&rsquo;s is demurring.</p><p><strong>Here is a list of TIFs and their status in the Englewood and Bronzeville areas:</strong></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/49th_st_lawrencetif.html">49th/St. Lawrence</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/englewood_mall_tif.html">Englewood Mall TIF </a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/ryan_garfield_tif.html">Ryan/Garfield</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/43rd_cottage_grovetif.html">43rd/Cottage Grove</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/bronzeville_tif_.html">Bronzeville</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/24th_michigan_tif.html">24th/Michigan</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/englewood_neighborhoodtif.html">Englewood Neighborhood</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/47th_king_tif_.html">47th/King</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/lakefront_tif_.html">Lakefront</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/drexel_tif_.html">Drexel</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/madden_wells_tif.html">Madden/Wells</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/35th_state_tif.html">35th/State</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/40th_state_tif_.html">40th/State</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/47th_state_tif_.html">47th/State</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/26th_king_tif.html">26th/King</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/pershing_king_tif.html">Pershing/King</a></li></ul><p><em>Natalie Moore is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 09:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-bronzeville-wait-mayor%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98opportunity%E2%80%99-plan-pay-108297 South Side neighborhoods vie for presidential library http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/south-side-neighborhoods-vie-presidential-library-107926 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/lakeside-kari-lydersen.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>A biting wind blew off the lake. A group of Southeast Side residents pulled their coats tight and gazed north to the downtown skyline. On this raw March day, they stood on the northern edge of the former site of U.S. Steel&rsquo;s South Works mill. The plant closed in 1992, and now all you see is rubble, weeds and mud.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But LaMeise Turner and her neighbors envision a glorious future for this spot. &quot;I would love to see the Obama library here,&quot; Turner said. &quot;I think that would be good, it would give access not just to the neighborhood but to everybody. Because he&rsquo;s the first African American president, the first one from Chicago, so I think this is an ideal place for it.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It&rsquo;s right on the lake and the view is spectacular. Fertile mud from the Illinois River was trucked in to grow native plants and flowers. And if developers have their way, these hundreds of acres will be home to a glistening new neighborhood with tens of thousands of homes and businesses.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dan McCaffery, the developer spearheading the project known as Lakeside, said the Obama library would bolster this development and help revitalize the whole area. McCaffery said, &quot;I noticed in <em>Time</em> magazine September 2008, one quote of his is: &#39;I found my calling to public service in a community devastated by the loss of steel workers.&#39; So I think this would be a very nice way for him to put his imprint permanently in that community. We have a gorgeous site, sits on the lake, looks back at the city. So Dan McCaffery thinks Mr. President, you ought to be there.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are 13 official presidential libraries spread across the country. President Obama won&rsquo;t formally make the decision about his library until he&rsquo;s out of office. But the courtship has already begun.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There&rsquo;s no guarantee Obama&rsquo;s library will be in Chicago; the University of Hawaii is mulling a bid.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But the top contender appears to be the University of Chicago. Obama was on the law school faculty there for years, and Michelle Obama held administrative positions too. A university spokesman said it is &ldquo;premature&rdquo; to comment, but many people think it&rsquo;s a done deal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This upsets Harold Lucas, who knew Obama in his days as a community organizer. Lucas said, &quot;I remember when he came to Chicago with his big ears sitting off his head, little bitty skinny guy. We went out to the Gardens. That&rsquo;s where I met him.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lucas is president of the Black Metropolis Convention and Tourism Council in Bronzevile. He&rsquo;d like the library to go on the site of the old Michael Reese Hospital. &quot;Knowing that Bronzeville began in 1916, we want to celebrate our centennial in 2016; the cherry on the sundae would be the presidential library,&quot; Lucas said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Then there are at least two other Chicago candidates for the library. Like the U.S. Steel site, they are on the Far South Side where Obama cut his teeth in community organizing.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chicago State University has enlisted former State Senate President Emil Jones to lure the library to its campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Others are pushing the historic Pullman neighborhood, near the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex. Tom Shepherd and other local history buffs have been trying for years to create a railroad museum in the old Pullman rail car factory.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The University of Chicago, they already have so many resources,&quot; Shepherd said. &quot;I&rsquo;m sure they&rsquo;re going to make a big push for it, but I just feel that by bringing some of the university resources out to a neighborhood like Pullman would help Pullman, help Roseland, the neighboring communities that are really troubled right now.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ed Gardner, 88, is founder of Soft Sheen products and a long-time proponent of African American empowerment and economic development.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He&rsquo;s been a major Obama supporter and donor. He&rsquo;s also a big backer of Lakeside Development on the U.S. Steel site, and he thinks the Obama library would be the crowning touch.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Downtown or even the University of Chicago, they have their pluses,&quot; Gardner said. &quot;But President Obama came from the people, and they&rsquo;re the ones who put him into office, who worked these streets on the South Side of Chicago and all of the state of Illinois and the whole country. He would want the world to come through this part of the city on their way to see the library.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chicagoans like Ed Gardner still feel a strong connection to the president. Just as Obama started his career trying to help Chicago communities, now the decision about the library could go a long way toward revitalizing the South Side.</div></p> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/south-side-neighborhoods-vie-presidential-library-107926