Chicago’s deep history of racism gets a brief spotlight | WBEZ
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Chicago's deep history of racism gets a brief national spotlight

Onlookers carrying signs heckle passing civil rights marchers on the Southwest Side of Chicago in 1966. (AP Photo)

Lead story: An ongoing series on Gawker has been trying to pinpoint the nation’s most racist city and this week the series lands on Chicago. First of all, before anyone gets up in arms about this, know that the series is compiled by Drew Magary, whose writing I love and who revels in vulgarity with the glee of a child in a toy store. Aside from citing past examples of racism – 1919 riots following the drowning a black teenager on the South Side and the 1977 march by the Nazis on Skokie – demographics and a few other historic touchstones, Magary largely turns the column over to Chicago readers. They zero in on their own experiences, citing run-ins in Bridgeport and Uptown, two neighborhoods that have always been fraught with racial run-ins. Race in Chicago has been an ongoing issue for over a century – since the founding of this city, really – and segregation here, reinforced by Mayor Daley the First and his machine pals, remains as much as a problem now as it ever was. The Gawker story barely scratches the surface.

Also: The mother of a 13-year-old boy has filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against Round Lake District Unit 116 after school administrators allegedly strip-searched her son for illegal drugs last spring. According to the lawsuit, the school's former principal and assistant principal conducted the search in a conference room with uncovered windows after getting a tip from another student. The search included forcing the student to strip off his pants and underwear and move his genitals to prove he hadn’t wedged marijuana somewhere. No evidence was found on the boy. An attorney for the mother cited policy that said such a search could only happen after evidence was found as a result of searching a student’s locker or visible areas of his or her clothes.

And then: With a 366-day sentence levied at power broker William Cellini Thursday, the trials stemming from the corruption investigation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have finally wound down. Cellini was convicted of trying to shake down film producer Thomas Rosenberg (Million Dollar Baby, Runaway Bride) for a $1.5 million donation to Blago in exchange for state business. Both the defense and the prosecution asked Judge James Zagel to take Cellini’s health into account when issuing his sentence. 

RIP: Robert Christy, theoretical physicist and member of the Manhattan Project at the age of 96.


Looking Ahead



Today is my last post on this site before I move down the road to the Sun-Times next week. It’s been a blast and I’m looking forward to more appearances down the line. To celebrate, here’s an ode (with some NSFW language) to our great city by Randall, the guy from the Honey Badger video. [via]

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