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Forty Blocks: An Oral History of East Garfield Park

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"A Visit To East Garfield Park."

From the video titled “A Visit To East Garfield Park.”

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One major touchstone for Chicagoans when they talk about the history of East Garfield Park is the riots that took place there following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. In some ways, the riots seem to have overshadowed other, brighter moments in the neighborhood’s past.

So, what stories aren’t being told about the neighborhood and where it’s been? A new oral history project seeks to answer that question.

The local social service agency Breakthrough has teamed up with the Chicago History Museum to record oral histories of longtime East Garfield Park residents. The interviewers are a group of local middle and high school students.

Morning Shift talks about some of the stories the students have dug up with Peter Alter of the Chicago History Museum and Nakia Smith, a middle schooler at Beidler Elementary in East Garfield Park who is one the project’s oral historians.

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