Louder Than a Bomb: Maxwell Street | WBEZ
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Race: Out Loud

Louder Than a Bomb: Maxwell Street

Poet Adam Gottlieb was an 18-year-old senior at Northside College Prep High School when he competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2008, representing his high school.

Adam wrote about the history of Jews in Chicago, his experience growing up as a Jew in Skokie, and the migration of American Jews throughout history. And through these stories, he shared a lesson he learned from his Grandma, and her love for all people, setting an example for him of how to navigate race relations.


While my Grandma struggled as an immigrant
I think she at least was free

A Jew that understood that in America
Being Jewish is not as hard as being black

The two don't even compare

The Bible goes so far back
They don't even have slavery in common
Just Maxwell Street


Each week, WBEZ will feature a poem from the Louder Than a Bomb collection that explores the issue of race. We offer the poems as part of Race: Out Loud, a collaborative production of WBEZ and vocalo, which aims to get us  talking to each other about race. Louder Than A Bomb is Chicago’s teen poetry festival. It brings teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines in a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling, and hip-hop spoken word.  Each year, Chicago Public Media invites festival finalists to record their work.

Click here to hear nearly 200 Louder Than a Bomb finalist pieces recorded over the past eight years.


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