Tag Archives: U.S. History

Quotations: Rev. C.T. VIVIAN (1924-2020, American), minister, author, civil rights leader. (65 Quotes).

President Barack Obama delivers the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)/ Public Domain.

Rev. C.T. Vivian died on July 17, 2020 at 95 years old. Rev. Vivian was born in Boonville, Missouri, and migrated as a child with his mother to Macomb, Illinois. Rev. Vivian grew up to attend Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb, Illinois, where he worked as the sports editor for the student newspaper. In 1987, decades after attending the university, Rev. Vivian received an honorary doctorate from WIU.

Rev. Vivian’s career as an activist began in Peoria, Illinois, where, in 1947, he participated in sit-in demonstrations to successfully integrate Barton’s Cafeteria. Soon after, he served with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr. and joined Dr. King’s executive staff. In that capacity, Rev. VIvian served as the national director of affiliates for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

In the mid1960’s Rev. Vivian organized and directed efforts to re-evaluate activist networks and goals and the ideology and practice of Black Power, as well as the role of Christian faith among its participants.

In 1965, Rev. C.T. Vivian became Director of Fellowships and Internships of the Urban Training Center (UTC) for Christian Mission in Chicago. Founded with a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1963 to train African American Christian pastors and organizers—Rev. Jesse Jackson was among the first 19 men trained under Rev. Vivian’s program at the UTC in its first year—the organization considered new dimensions to protest movements in Chicago concerned with Black power, Black identity and Black unity.

By means of lectures, readings, discussions and nonviolent training exercises such as “the Plunge” where participants had to survive on their own for seven days without access to housing, food, or other resources, the organization existed to help its participants to seek ways to take power from structures which affect their lives particularly on the West and South Sides of Chicago. 

In 1970, following the assassination of Dr. King in 1968, Rev. Vivian became the first of Dr. King’s staff to write a book based on his experiences in the civil rights movement. Rev. Vivian’s book was entitled Black Power and the American Myth.

Rev. Vivian eventually became director of the Urban Theological Institute at Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center, a consortium of African-American seminaries. He was also board chair of Capitol City Bank, a minority-owned bank founded in 1995 that focused on loans for underserved areas. With eight branches in metro Atlanta, Capitol City Bank closed in 2015.

Through the C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute founded in 2008, Rev. Vivian continued to do the kind of work he did in Chicago in the 1960’s which was facilitating mainly youth who were seeking discerned strategies for their material and spiritual goals. On behalf of at-risk youth and college graduates, Rev. Vivian fostered innovative leadership for their career development in the 21st century. In 2012, Rev. Vivian returned to serve as interim President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and, in 2013, President Obama awarded Rev. Vivian the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

PHOTO: CC BY-SA 4.0

The United States began with a struggle for civil rights. The specific issue – taxation without representation – was merely a focus for the larger question of whether or not a dominant majority would continue to exploit a subject minority. The American colonists decided that this oppression was not tolerable.
America was born as a revolutionary nation.
The question always before the Black man was: What must I do to be free?
Freedom was conceived of in commercial terms, and indeed there was cause for this..Yet the fact is that when ordinary Black people began to move it was not an economic force that moved them. They sought dignity, not dollars; manhood, not money; pride, not prosperity.
It was Martin Luther King who removed the Black struggle from the economic realm and placed it in the moral and spiritual context.
As a nation, America had steadfastly refused to accept the humanity of its Black minority. It had perpetrated an endless series of horrors more ghastly than most of its citizens could imagine or believe
Racism began as rationalization. It began as a justification of the white man’s injustice to the Black. The greed that brought Black men into slavery was not alone enough to make the institution bearable to the white conscience.
White Americans had to become racists or John Browns…There were many more whites of John Brown’s persuasion than is commonly known. The annals of Southern history document the executions of scores of whites accused of fomenting Black revolt.
Today bigotry most often shows itself as blind indifference and willful ignorance rather than as racist activism.
When Martin Luther King emerged, he raised the issues from the pragmatic to the sublime.
During the time of slavery abolitionists were accused of violence for merely ADVOCATING an end to slavery, while the steady falling of the overseer’s lash went unquestioned as a necessary fact of life.
White America has accepted the brutality of enforced poverty, the violence of economic and social discrimination, the viciousness of personal intolerance, as social facts.
The Blacks who were brought to this country as slaves were systematically stripped of all cultural ties…Nor were they allowed to develop new institutions to replace the old. They were not permitted to read or write.
Blacks were permitted nothing by which to mark themselves as human. They had neither legal nor moral rights. They were property, not people.
Although the Constitution had been amended to declare him a citizen, the Black was neither considered to be, nor treated as, a man.
Even the Black church, which has been the closest thing in most communities to be a truly independent Black institution, has largely failed to deal with the facts of Black America. The church has taught that Blacks were human. But that they would only enjoy its privileges after death.
Blacks had to come to see themselves as masters of their own fate, masters of their secular destiny as well as their spiritual destiny.
These facts — (of economic discrimination, infant mortality rate, malnutrition) and all the others which describe the Black condition — we knew well. Our problem was to make the rest of the nation understand them.
Among other models of social action was the American Revolution itself.
When white people find filth in the streets of their neighborhood they quite properly call city hall and complain, and it is removed. But when the same whites (and warped Blacks) find filth in the ghetto streets, they call for a clean-up campaign by ghetto residents.
In 1964, the Small Business Administration reviewed its past ten years and reported that it had made seven loans to Blacks during that time –seven in ten years. This record is typical of most banks, savings and loans companies, and other financial institutions, which provide the capital that allows people to enter the commercial world.
As Gunnar Myrdal pointed out in his classic study AN AMERICAN DILEMMA, this country does not have a Negro problem, it has a white problem. Changing the white majority, their attitudes and their institutions, is basic to any solution to “racial strife.”
We saw that the failure to admit Blacks to the society had created a permanent ambivalence within the nation, an ambivalence which warped everything that the nation did. Even the simple facts of history had been so twisted that it was impossible for most Americans to understand what happened to their land or why they had arrived at the crisis they were facing.
The first permanent non-Indian settlers in what is now the United States were not whites seeking religious freedom but Blacks seeking physical freedom. These people came here as slaves with an ill-fated Spanish colonial venture. They rebelled and sought refuge with the Indians. The Spanish left and the Blacks remained. This took place more than a hundred years before the landing of the Mayflower.
Of major importance is the fact that at the time of the Revolutionary War the entire American economy was sustained by slavery. Slaves were held in every colony.
For Blacks were not the only ones oppressed by slavery. Whites were also brutalized by their inability to escape from slavery. In the South this was especially clear. A police state was created and the entire population lived in terror of a slave uprising.
Millions of Americans suffered from misplaced hatreds. The classic example is the poor white Southerner who has been pitted against Blacks by the powerful men who exploit them both.
Most of the antislavery agitation in the United States came from poor whites in the South. These people saw that slavery kept THEM in bondage by allowing planters to control all the best land and manipulate the markets to their own advantage.
John Calhoun voiced the typical slaveholder’s view when he said freedom for whites was impossible without the enslavement of Blacks.
In the Dred Scott decision of 1857…the Supreme Court explained that the phrase “the people of the United States” in the Constitution was never meant to include Blacks.
Congress…created the Freedmen’s Bureau, an agency designed to make the ex-slaves participants in the national economy. Much good work was done by the Bureau.
In the Fifteenth Amendment, the government officially forbade the denial of voting rights because of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” And having done this, the government washed its hands of the whole matter.
One reactionary Supreme Court decision interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment as having granted the privilege of national citizenship, but not necessarily state citizenship. This gave Blacks rights such as access to seaports, but left questions of education, suffrage, and employment up to the states.
During the 1890s, two to three Blacks were lynched every week – week after week, year after year.
During the Jim Crow mania, states, counties, towns, and cities vied with one another in passing repressive legislation, running all the way from the silly to the insane. This was the period which the “separate but equal” doctrine was taking shape.
The Civil Rights Act of 1965 was intended partly to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, because no more than a tiny fraction of the Black population had ever actually been allowed to vote.
Ironically, it is America’s firm commitment to equalitarian ideals which makes the race question so intense.
What began as a Negro rights movement and became a civil rights movement would have to become a human rights movement encompassing the entire nation. It would not be enough even for the nation to change its attitudes toward Black people – we saw that the nation would have to change its attitude toward itself as well. White people as individuals and as a group would have to examine and redefine themselves, their past, and their future just as Blacks were doing.
Almost every public pronouncement concerning the condition of Blacks insisted that their situation was rapidly improving. But since Blacks were invisible to the white world, these questionable statements went unverified.
Some of our leaders recommended movement through education…Others to industrial occupations…still other leaders counseled violence. Throughout the history of America we fought many times. Before emancipation there were over 250 slave conspiracies and revolts.
To all who accepted it, nonviolence offered new power. It pitted calm courage against frantic fear. It set the action of love against the reaction of hate.
Nonviolence was a method which at once began to end the old and create the new.
The Birmingham campaign of 1963 was the first large-scale test of the new method (of nonviolence). It was titled “Project C” – C for CONFRONTATION.
When it became clear that we would not be crushed, official Birmingham accepted our demands—(1) desegregation of all public facilities, (2) hiring and upgrading of workers without discrimination, (3) the release of all jailed demonstrators, (4) the establishment of a permanent biracial committee to keep communications open between Blacks and whites.
Our movement depended on mass support; the mobilization of our people was our principal weapon.
We were continually warned about “backlash”—which is what white people do when Black people fail to “stay in their place.”
We were continually told by whites and fearful Blacks alike that we were fomenting discord, creating racial strife, mounting reaction and bigotry.

Introductory text:

White liberals also touted the success gained through legal action. But important as court battles have been, they failed to make any basic change in the lives of most Blacks.
Ten years after the school desegregation cases of 1954, only 2.14% of the nearly 3 million Black children in Southern schools have been affected and were receiving anything like a desegregated education.
As this protest reached massive proportions it became clear that those Americans who were not coming to realize the justice of the Black demands were closing their minds more permanently and more desperately to justice.
Massive opposition was stirring. White citizens’ councils were forming throughout the South. In the Northern cities, the names were different but the motives were the same whether they came under the heading of parents’ and taxpayers’ groups, homeowners’ associations, or community school councils.
Our accomplishments often bewildered us as much as our defeats.
It was not until the riots began that we understood the extent of our failure. The message from the streets was that hundreds of years of Black appeals for justice would now give way to action.
When there is no justice for ALL, then there is no justice at all. Some may be favored, but none are safe.
Genuine integration can never become a reality until both parties can live together as equals; and that will not happen until each sees the other as human, until each holds the same values upon which the entire culture can grow.
Integration is dead. The concept and the experience, insofar as they were tried, have both failed because of the powerful racism of this society. Blacks, in response, have realized that they must develop their own distinctive culture.
Black organizations that have organized around welfare have almost universally called for the abolishment of that system.
Who then really WANTS the welfare system? Who profits by it? Who perpetuates it? It is, of course, the people who RUN the system.
It is those who ADMINISTER welfare who get the most money, not the recipients; it is the administrators who are most truly ON welfare. This point should always be remembered when they try to speak for the Black community.
The collapse of the integration model has led to many social experiments ranging from Black capitalism to the African revival. There has been a headlong search for new sources of identity.
Within Black communities, therefore, the cry is no longer for integrated education, but for community control. It means Black control of Black schools, just as whites have always controlled their schools.
In a few cases there have even been beginning attempts at coalition between bigots and Blacks in opposition to the white liberals who refuse to give up the rubric of integration.
Some segments of the Black movement are concerning themselves specifically with the creation and re-creation of Black culture. Others have found inspiration in such international movements as socialism.
The only sanity seems to lie in a new form of segregation which will hopefully, in time, bring a new demand for integration – the integration of whites into the re-created culture that the Black minority has begun to achieve.

Introductory biographical text:

Most brief, educationally distinct citations come from C.T. Vivian’s Black Power and the American Myth.

August 28, 1963: the 72-minute MEETING AT THE WHITE HOUSE OF CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS WITH PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY following the historic March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

FEATURE image: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders of the march posing in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Memorial.) by Rowland Scherman (b. 1937), for the U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. Public Domain/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Sensing a national breakthrough for civil rights, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined civil rights leaders to plan a March on Washington for Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The great march filled the VIP section at the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall to past the Washington Monument, a distance of almost one mile. The March on Washington is remembered for King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the massive crowd’s hopeful jubilation. The meeting with President Kennedy was more than a polite courtesy call to the White House–it helped coordinate political strategy for the movement that would have concrete ramifications for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 following Kennedy’s death.

By John P. Walsh

President John F. Kennedy watched the march—and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech—from the White House on television.

Both Kennedy and King were young men—King was 34 years old, Kennedy was 46 years old. Mature beyond their years, each American proffered green oak in some ways—Kennedy was especially more personally sensitive than his “cool” public persona belied him to be. King, too, was mostly uncomfortable on August 28, 1963 with the particular attention, from the media and others, that he was receiving for his remarks at the Lincoln Memorial.

As the civil rights leaders filed into the Cabinet Room at the White House the first thing Kennedy said when he took King’s hand was “I have a dream…” The president was repeating King’s line that immediately impressed him and the nation when they heard it on TV live only a short time before.

King deflected the president’s compliment and immediately asked him what the president thought of United Automobile Workers president Walter Reuther’s excellent speech. It had included a criticism of Kennedy for defending freedom around the world but not always at home. Kennedy replied to King: “Oh, I’ve heard [Walter] plenty of times.”

King and Kennedy hardly talked any more during the visit, though when they did it led to an outcome for action.

Civil Rights leaders in this group photograph at the Lincoln Memorial followed-up the March on Washington with a visit to the White House to meet President Kennedy. Seated left to right: National Urban League executive director Whitney Young (1921-1971); chairman of the Demonstration Committee Cleveland Robinson (1914-1995); labor union leader A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979); Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968); National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leader Roy Wilkins (1901-1981). Standing left to right: director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice Matthew Ahmann (1931-2001); Rabbi Joachim Prinz (1902-1998); Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader John Lewis (1940-2020); Protestant minister Eugene Carson Blake (1906-1985); Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) leader Floyd McKissick (1922-1991); labor union leader Walter Reuther (1907-1970).
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking at the March on Washington from the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. Following the successful march for jobs and freedom, civil rights leaders went to the White House to visit with President Kennedy and pushed measures to strengthen the Civil Rights bill.

Kennedy and NAACP leader Roy Wilkins talked at length about strengthening the civil rights bill following that day’s completely peaceful march. King moved away from the president and down the line to near then-23-year-old John Lewis, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

One section to the civil rights bill these activists wanted the president to add was a ban on employment exclusion based on race.

As White House and other photographers filmed and snapped pictures of the historic White House meeting of leading progressive personalities of the early 1960s, the civil rights leaders told the president about the accelerating automation in the job market that would potentially depress the availability of jobs.

They also discussed the plight of the inner city, telling Kennedy that Black teenagers were dropping out of school in epidemic numbers. A. Philip Randolph told the president that the entire current generation of young Blacks “had no faith” in whites. They also dismissed Black leadership, government and God. To these young Americans, U.S. society as it was presently constituted meant nothing to them but despair.

During the visit, Kennedy was lobbied to re-insert into the act a section that was stripped in 1957 giving authority to the Attorney General to investigate and initiate lawsuits on behalf of blatant civil rights infringements.

President Kennedy responded that with Robert Kennedy, his Attorney General, he had looked into joblessness and the school drop-out rate among Blacks in Chicago and New York City. At the August 28, 1963 meeting Kennedy encouraged the civil rights leaders to have the Black community do more.

“It seems to me,” the president said, “with all the influence that all you gentleman have in the Negro community that we could emphasize…educating [your]children, on making them study, making them stay in school and all the rest.”

Any add-ons now to the civil rights bill joined existing legislation that was already on the brink of defeat in the Democrat-controlled Senate and too close to call in a Democrat-controlled House.

Despite these close margins, Wilkins countered that the Speaker of the House had assured him that an even stronger civil rights bill could pass the House and would work to pressure the Senate to act. Wilkins suggested that the president go over the heads of the Congress who obstructed passage of the bill and lead a crusade to win voter approval for the civil rights measures.

Kennedy replied frankly to the leaders that civil rights must be a bipartisan effort. For a Democrat president to lead a crusade would allow Republicans to support civil rights and blame the Democrats for it which would hurt the Democratic Party in the South. Kennedy assured the civil rights leaders that “treacherous” political games were being played in the Federal legislature on the bill by both Republicans and Democrats.

Kennedy was countered again – this time by Walter Reuther.

“Look, you can’t escape this problem,“ the white labor leader said, “and there are two ways of resolving it—either by reason or riots. But now the civil war is not gonna be fought at Gettysburg, it’s gonna be fought in your backyard, in your plant, where your kids are growing up.” Reuther further told JFK he didn’t much like the young president’s “seminar” style of governing where “you call a big meeting…and nothing happens.” Reuther told Kennedy that he preferred his vice-president’s governing style where Lyndon B. Johnson “jawbone[d]” an issue until he would “get difficult things done.”

King stayed silent for most of this back and forth debate. When King finally spoke he asked JFK that if the sitting president led a crusade then perhaps his predecessor, Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower, might get involved. It would then, King suggested, become the bipartisan push Kennedy was looking for.

Kennedy snapped back at King: “No, it won’t.”

In reply, King made a knowing joke: “Doesn’t [President Eisenhower] happen to be in the other denomination?”

Ike’s personal pastor was Rev. Eugene Blake who was in the Cabinet Room. Blake, a powerful force and no pushover, had been the march’s only white speaker.

One reason that Rev. Blake spoke at the march was that he had been arrested in a civil rights demonstration in Baltimore and had gone to jail.

Just hours earlier, Rev. Blake orated: “We come late, late we come, in the reconciling and repentant spirit.” The Protestant clergyman embraced the march’s agenda of civil and economic rights for African Americans and the end to racism. Still, Blake rejected words like “revolution” and “the masses” used by some civil rights activists.

At that day’s White House visit, Blake told Kennedy that Ike could be approached about civil rights. The president pivoted and urged Blake to visit the former president at his home in Gettysburg to discover any political role Ike might be willing to take for the civil rights bill. Kennedy advised: “And include a Catholic and maybe a businessman or two.”

Then pointing to Reuther, Kennedy lightly said: “And leave Walter in the background.” Amid chuckles, Kennedy then left the room of civil rights leaders. Before exiting, the president turned to assure them he would keep in touch on the civil rights bill in the months ahead.

SOURCES:

TAYLOR BRANCH, PARTING THE WATERS AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS 1954-1963. NEW YORK: SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1988.

DAVID GARROW, BEARING THE CROSS: MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., AND THE SOUTHERN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE, WILLIAM MORROW AND COMPANY, 1986.

On August 28, 1963 about 250,000 peaceful protesters descended on Washington, D.C. for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history.

PHOTO CREDITS:

Hundreds of thousands descended on Washington, D.C.’s, Lincoln Memorial Aug. 28, 1963. Public Domain/U.S. Government Photo.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders of the march posing in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Memorial.) by Rowland Scherman (b. 1937), for the U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. Public Domain/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking from the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington by Rowland Scherman (b. 1937), for the U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. Public Domain/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Aerial view of Washington Monument showing marchers.) U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. Public Domain/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Leaders of the march leading marchers down the street. U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. Public Domain/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Quotations: CHIEF JOSEPH (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé leader. (3 Quotes).

Somebody has got our horses. Reaction to violation of surrender treaty terms by U.S. Government.

“When the terms of surrender were violated by the government, [Chief] Joseph did not dig up the tomahawk and go on the warpath again…. He…. spoke with a straight tongue , and was a gentleman of his word. Nor did he blame [Maj. Gen. O. O.] Howard or [Col. Nelson A.] Miles for what his people suffered. He remarked only the above. (Quoted in Saga of Chief Joseph, H. A. Howard, University of Nebraska Press, 1978, p. 348.)

My son, never forget my dying words, this country holds your father’s body. Never sell the bones of your father and mother. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé. To his son on defending his homeland and people.

Gravesite of Chief Joseph, Nez Percé cemetery, Nespelem, Okanogan Co., Washington. Author’s photograph, 1993.

If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect him to grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth, and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé, North American Review, Cedar Falls, Iowa, April 1879.

Quotations: MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (b. 1942, American). (40 Quotes).

Michael Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is an American businessman, politician, and author. He is the CEO and majority owner of Bloomberg L.P, which he co-founded.

Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013. His tenure was marked by a period of relative prosperity but also controversial city-wide policies and practices, such as “stop and frisk.”

By having the city’s mayoral term limits law extended in 2008, Bloomberg served three consecutive four-year terms as mayor.

In 2020 Michael Bloomberg entered the Democratic Party primaries as a presidential candidate.

According to Forbes business magazine, Bloomberg is worth about $64 billion. He is divorced and has two grown daughters.

My favorite childhood book was called Johnny Tremain, about a Boston boy who joins the Sons of Liberty at the dawn of the American Revolution. At the end of the book, Johnny stands on Lexington Commons and sees a nation that is “green with spring dreaming of the future”. That’s the America I know and love. Michael Bloomberg, 2020 Democratic National Convention speech, August 20, 2020.

Growing up, I was taught to believe that America is the greatest country in the world. Not because we won the Second World War, but because of why we fought it; for freedom, democracy and equality. Michael Bloomberg, 2020 Democratic National Convention speech, August 20, 2020.

I’ve supported Democrats, Republicans and independents. Hell, I’ve actually been a Democrat, Republican, and independent. Michael Bloomberg, 2020 Democratic National Convention speech, August 20, 2020.

I believe we need a leader who is ready to be Commander in Chief, not college debater in chief. Michael Bloomberg, Super Tuesday speech, March 3, 2020.

I follow facts, respect data, and tell the truth. My whole career I have been a doer. And I believe we need less talk, less partisanship, less division, less tweeting. Michael Bloomberg, Super Tuesday speech, March 3, 2020.

Let me also say, since I have the floor for a second, that I really am surprised that all of these, my fellow contestants up here, I guess would be the right word for it, given nobody pays attention to the clock, I’m surprised they show up, because I would have thought after I did such a good job in beating them last week, that they’d be a little bit afraid to do that. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

Well, I think what’s right for New York City isn’t necessarily right for all the other cities, otherwise you would have a naked cowboy in every city. So let’s get serious here. But I do think it’s the government’s job to have good science, and to explain to people what science says, or how to take care of themselves and extend their lives. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

We shouldn’t be fighting wars that we can’t win. We should go to war only as a last resort. Nobody argues with that. But this is a dangerous world, and if we haven’t learned that after 9/11, I don’t know what’s going to teach us what to do. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

We have to be able to stop terrorism. And there’s no guarantees that you’re going to be able to do it, but we have to have some troops in places where terrorists congregate, and to not do so is just irresponsible. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

You can’t move the embassy back. We should not have done it without getting something from the Israeli government, but it was done, and you’re going to have to leave it there. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

Only solution here is a two-state solution. The Palestinians have to be accommodated. The real problem here is you have two groups of people, both of whom think God gave them the same piece of land. And the answer is to obviously split it up. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

Misconception? That I’m six feet tall. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

This election is just too important, and we cannot afford to get it wrong. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

Vladimir Putin thinks Donald Trump should be president of the United States. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I’ve apologized and asked for forgiveness. I’ve met with black leaders to try to get an understanding of how I can better position myself and what I should have done and what I should do next time. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

Let me tell you, I have been working very hard. We’ve improved the school system for Black and Brown students in New York City. We’ve increased the jobs that are available to them. We’ve increased the housing that’s available to them. We have programs– Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

But if you talk to the people in New York City, I have over 100 Black elected officials that have endorsed me. A lot of them are in the audience tonight. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I was the mayor of the largest, most populous city in the United States for 12 years, and people will tell you it’s a lot better city today. It is safer for everybody. The school system is better. The budget is under control. We’ve done the things that people need in New York City for all ethnicities. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I know that if I were Black, my success would have been a lot harder to achieve. And I know a lot of Black people that if they were white it would have been a lot easier for them. That’s just a fact, and we’ve got to do something about it than rather just demagogue about it. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I have been training for this job since I stepped on the pile that was still smoldering on 9/11. I know what to do. I’ve shown I know how to run a country. I’ve run the city which is almost the same size, is bigger, than most countries in the world. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I’m the one choice that makes some sense. I have the experience. I have the resources. And I have the record. When people hired me to run New York City three times, in an overwhelmingly Democratic, progressive city, they elected me again and again. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

Let’s just go on the record. They talk about 40 Democrats. 21 of those were people that I spent $100 million to help elect. All of the new Democrats that came in and put Nancy Pelosi in charge and gave the Congress the ability to control this president–I—I got them. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

If you keep on going, we will elect Bernie. Bernie will lose to Donald Trump. And Donald Trump and the House and the Senate and some of the statehouses will all go red. And then between gerrymandering and appointing judges, for the next 20 or 30 years, we’re going to live with this catastrophe. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

The polls aren’t the election. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

Can anybody in the room imagine moderate Republicans going over and voting for him? And you have to do that, or you can’t win. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

We have put background checks — we have got background checks in 20 states. So you can do it. It’s Congress that can’t seem to do it. And I don’t know why we think they’re going to do it. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I saw a statistic the other day, when I came into office, zero New York City schools were in the top 25 of the state. When I left, 23 out of 25 were from New York City. We’ve cut the gap between the rich and the poor. We’ve made an enormous difference in all of the options that parents have. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I raised teacher salaries by 43 percent. I put an extra $5 billion into our school system. I value education. It is the only way to solve the poverty problem is to get people a good education. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I think the Chinese government has not been open. Their press — the freedom of press does not exist there. They — their human rights record is abominable, and we should make a fuss, which we have been doing, I suppose. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

We have to deal with China if we’re ever going to solve the climate crisis. We have to deal with them because our economies are inextricably linked. We would not be able to sell or buy the products that we need. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

In terms of whether he’s a dictator, he does serve at the behest of the Politboro, their group of people. But there’s no question he has an enormous amount of power. But he does play to his constituency. You can negotiate with him. That’s exactly what we have to do, make it seem that it’s in his interest and in his people’s interest to do what we want to do. Follow the rules, particularly no stealing of intellectual property, Follow the rules in terms of the trade agreements that we have are reciprocal and go equally in both directions. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, Charleston, South Carolina, February 25, 2020.

I do agree with her that the rich aren’t paying their fair share. We should raise taxes on the rich. I did that as mayor in New York City. I raised taxes. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

What a wonderful country we have. The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses. What did I miss here? Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

I can’t speak for all billionaires. All I know is I’ve been very lucky, made a lot of money, and I’m giving it all away to make this country better. And a good chunk of it goes to the Democratic Party, as well. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

What am I, chicken liver? Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

I can’t think of a ways that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get re-elected than listening to this conversation. It’s ridiculous. We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

I don’t think there’s any chance of the senator beating President Trump. You don’t start out by saying I’ve got 160 million people I’m going to take away the insurance plan that they love. That’s just not a way that you go and start building the coalition that the Sanders camp thinks that they can do. I don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

Look, this is a management job, and Donald Trump’s not a manager. This is a job where you have to build teams. He doesn’t have a team so he goes and makes decisions without knowing what’s going on or the implications of what he does. We cannot run the railroad this way. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

This country has to pull together and understand that the people that we elect — and it’s not just the president of the United States — they should have experience, they should have credentials, they should understand what they’re doing and the implications thereof. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

Fortunately, I make a lot of money, and we do business all around the world. And we are preparing it. The number of pages will probably be in the thousands of pages. I can’t go to TurboTax. Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Presidential debate, February 19, 2020.

CREDITS:
Feature Image- This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of their rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.  

Politics of Inclusion: ROBERT F. KENNEDY, 50 years Later (1968-2018).

FEATURE image: “‘Some men see things as they are, and say ‘Why?’ — I dream of things that never were, and say, ‘Why not?”” by gwilmore is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Robert Kennedy Speaks to Civil Rights Demonstrators at Justice Department by Warren K. Leffler, 1963.

PHOTO CREDIT: “No Known Restrictions: Robert Kennedy Speaks to Civil Rights Demonstrators at Justice Department by Warren K. Leffler, 1963 (LOC)” by pingnews.com is marked with CC PDM 1.0.

By John P. Walsh

It was fifty years ago today (June 8, 1968) that Senator Robert F. Kennedy had his funeral in Manhattan and a train procession to Washington D.C., for his burial after being shot on June 5, 1968 after winning the California Democratic primary for president of the United States. His assassination, funeral, and the long train ride to Arlington National Cemetery are seared into the national memory as well as my own who heard and watched on radio and television all these historic events unfold as a child. It is a memorable series of life-changing happenings for the nation, similar to when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and his long funeral train procession from Washington, D.C. to Illinois took place in 1865. Before Lincoln’s funeral train went on to its final destination of Springfield, Illinois, the president’s body lay in state in Chicago. There, as it experienced in its other stops across several states, throngs greeted the Civil War president and, as History would have it, my great-grandfather who was in the Union army at that time served as one of Lincoln’s honor guards.

RFK Mississippi Delta April 1967
Robert F. Kennedy campaigns in 1968.

On June 8, 1968, brides and bridesmaids tossed their wedding bouquets at RFK’s funeral train when it passed in order to make their final good-byes. Though weddings and funerals are very different, they have similarities for being one of humanity’s great milestones, a significant rite of passage, where what was or has been, has died and what lies ahead is mysterious.

History records that one of RFK’s favorite songs was Where have all the flowers gone?, the modern folk song written by Pete Seeger which became a big hit, a number one musical sensation, in 1962, when RFK was Attorney General of the United States. The song is its own meditation on life’s transience – with its carriage of universal mortality – and whose lyrics, which Bobby Kennedy’s intuition understood perhaps more than he knew – grew more and more prophetic as the 1960’s moved forward.

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago…

kennedy campiagn itinerary
RFK’s campaign schedule for president from June 7 to June 17, 1968. John F. kennedy Library.

In the JFK Library in Boston, there’s a multi-page document which is RFK’s campaign schedule for president from June 7 to June 17, 1968. In the last 10 weeks the candidate had won four out of five state primaries he entered – in the Midwest (Indiana, Nebraska, and South Dakota) and California. Typed and single-spaced for over 11 pages, it became immediately moribund with his unexpected and premature rendezvous with death.

Ted Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy at Bobby Kennedy's funeral
Robert Kennedy’s funeral. His widow, Ethel, and younger brother, Ted who delivered the oration, June 8, 1968, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City.

On June 7, 1968, Senator Kennedy of New York was not to be lying in state at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan but on a 6 a.m. flight from L.A. to St. Louis for a luncheon with convention delegates. He then was to fly to New York State for a flurry of campaign appearances starting at Niagara Falls which would literally take him working into the early hours of the next day. On June 8, 1968, RFK was not to be funeralized with a train procession to follow for burial at Arlington, but making campaign appearances all over New York State from dawn to dusk. On June 9 he was not to lay silent on a hill below Custis House, not far from his brother, the slain 35th President of the United States, but…

RFK funeral train Paul Fusco
RFK funeral train photograph Paul Fusco

Perhaps RFK’s legacy for Democrats in 2018 and beyond is not that, as many insist, the New Deal Democratic coalition died along those rails on June 8, 1968 – fifty years ago today – but that it continues inherently with every progress and advancement made in society and, importantly, from and for all sides of American life. RFK’s brand of American politics for the Democratic Party is one that looks to include more of a wide array of political viewpoints than one would easily imagine possible or manageable. On June 8, 1968, Cecil Smith, of Charleston, South Carolina, was quoted in The Washington Evening Star as calling Kennedy “a wonderful man — a man of everybody.” Kennedy would never stop trying to govern from a grassroots political perspective which is creative and critical of extremes or mere pragmatism on behalf of the noble pursuit to be elected to high office so to effectively lead a diverse and great nation into a better future for all.

RFK funeral train photograph Paul Fusco

In today’s moribund politics of division, RFK’s ideals for America were no less difficult to achieve in 1968 than in 2018 – or beyond. After RFK was killed, an already-polarized presidential election of 1968 led to a predominance over the next fifty years of a strong brand of partisan politics. Kennedy’s more inclusive approach turned up historically truncated and, with decades of often mean-spirited political partisanship, is even chafed at as exotic or, at least, futile. Yet that Kennedy brand of democratic politics would never accept such defeatism then or now.

robert kennedy 6/5/68

RFK’s at the podium to deliver a victory speech following the outcome of the California primary. These last words of 42-year-old Senator Kennedy to the American people, given shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, and literally moments before he was shot, speaks volumes to his governing approach for the future.

Its vision absolutely requires the many and diverse hands, voices, and votes of the American people to accomplish, which was true in 1968 and today.

“What I think is quite clear is that we can work together in the last analysis. What has been going on in the United States for the last three years – the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with our society – the division, whether it’s between blacks and whites, the poor and the more affluent, or between different age groups or the war in Vietnam, that we can start to work together, that we are a great country, an unselfish country and a compassionate country. And I intend to make that my basis for running over the next few months… The country wants to move in a different direction. We want to deal with our own problems in our own country and we want peace in Vietnam…The fact is all of us are involved in this great effort – and it’s a great effort not on behalf of the Democratic Party – it’s a great effort on behalf of the United States – on behalf of our own people- on behalf of mankind all around the globe and the next generation of Americans… What we are going to do in the rural areas of our country? What we are going to do for those who still suffer in the United States from hunger? What we are going to do around the rest of the globe? And whether we are going to continue the policies that have been so unsuccessful, in Vietnam of American troops and American marines carrying the major burden of that conflict I do not want to and I think we should move in a different direction. So I thank all of you who made this possible this evening, all of the effort that you have made, and all of the people whose names I haven’t mentioned but did all of the work…So I thank all of you…And now it’s on to Chicago and let’s win there…”

kennedys
RFK funeral train photograph Paul Fusco

Visitors at RFK’s gravesite, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, June 2001. Author’s photograph.

RFK

RAY KROC’S VERY FIRST MCDONALD’S FRANCHISE RESTAURANT started in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois, is slated to meet the wrecking ball.

FEATURE image: McDonald’s, 1967. “Toledo, McDonald’s 1967” by DBduo Photography is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

First McDonald's franchise restaurant, 1955, May 2018.
McDonald’s very first franchise restaurant on its original site, 1955 (replica, 1985). It is slated to be razed by McDonald’s Corporation immediately. Author’s photograph taken May 6, 2018.

By John P. Walsh

A closed-down weather-beaten replica of the very first McDonald’s franchise restaurant started by Ray Kroc (1902-1984) on April 15, 1955 standing on its original site in Des Plaines, Illinois, is slated to be demolished by McDonald’s Corporation with its land donated or possibly sold.

It was not long ago that McDonald’s touted that approximately one in every eight American workers had been employed by the company (Source: McDonald’s estimate in 1996) and that even today McDonald’s hires around 1 million workers in the U.S. every year. By 1961 there were 230 McDonald’s franchises in the United States. In 2017 there was 37, 241 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Not only historians and historic preservationists decry the imminent demolition of the first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, just west of Chicago, but others impressed by its direct significance to the growth and impact to U.S. labor history as well as the American restaurant industry and American automotive culture in the post-World War II era. Further, McDonald’s restaurants today reach into 121 other countries around the world influencing and being influenced by global cuisine. That all of this cultural and business import was born on a now-threatened patch of land on Lee Street in Des Plaines, Illinois, is impressive.

It appears that if and when McDonald’s follows through on its November 2017 decision to raze the building and give up the site, this originally-designed McDonald’s restaurant on Ray Kroc’s original site in Des Plaines will be forever lost. The story of how that planned demolition of this unique piece of Americana came to be began 35 years ago. It was on March 3, 1984 that after 29 years of continual operation the original franchise restaurant on the original site was permanently closed and demolished. Founder and former McDonald’s Corporation chairman Ray Kroc had died less than six weeks before in January 1984 at 81 years old in San Diego, California.

The McDonald’s restaurant brand opened its first burger bar called McDonald’s Bar-B-Q in California in 1940 – and, by 1953, brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald started a small franchise business in Phoenix, Arizona and Downey, California. Today’s nationwide and global franchise empire that serves 75 burgers every second (Source: McDonald’s Operations and Training Manual) began when Oak Park, Illinois-born Ray Kroc, a paper-cup-turned-milkshake-machine salesman, convinced the McDonald brothers to let him franchise their business nationwide. Kroc offered to manage the franchises in the U.S., excepting the brothers’ first franchises in Arizona and California, and the pair were to receive a tiny percentage of gross sales nationwide in return.

first night Des Plaines
Historic photograph from 1955 of the original Des Plaines McDonald’s restaurant which was demolished in 1984. A replica restaurant was built in 1985 based on architectural plans of later McDonald’s restaurants. That replica on the historic site is awaiting immediate demolition announced by McDonald’s in late 2017.  Fair Use.

Kroc’s first walk-up franchise McDonald’s restaurant at the “Five Corners” intersection in Des Plaines, Illinois, served an assembly-line format menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries and a selection of drinks. In 1955, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., a predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation, and six years later bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name and operating system. By 1961, Ray Kroc’s vision had clearly paid off for the now 59-year-old former paper cup salesman. That same year, Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million and launched his strict training program, later called “Hamburger University, ” in nearby Elk Grove Village, Illinois, at another of his 230 new McDonald’s restaurants. Ray Kroc’s original vision was that there should be 1,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States. When Kroc died in January 1984, his goal had been exceeded six fold — there were 6,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and internationally in 1980.

The Des Plaines suburban location of Ray Kroc’s very first McDonald’s franchise retains its relatively humble setting even as the McDonald’s Corporation it spawned earns $27 billion in annual sales making it the 90th-largest economy in the world (Source: SEC). Kroc, the milkshake machine salesman who convinced the McDonald brothers to let him franchise their fast-food operation nationwide, saw his original McDonald’s franchise at 400 Lee St. in Des Plaines open for business until, shortly after his death, it closed on Saturday, March 3, 1984.

47-ray-kroc-quotes
Ray Kroc (1902-1984) photographed with an artist’s rendering of his highly successful McDonald’s franchise restaurant. The franchise started in Des Plaines, Illinois, in April 1955 and has had a significant impact on U.S. labor history and the American restaurant industry and automotive culture in the post-World war II era.  Fair Use.

In 1984 there were no plans to preserve the site – its golden arches and road sign had been carted away –  but a public outcry prompted McDonald’s in 1985 to return the restaurant’s restored original sign designed by Andrew Bork and Joe Sicuro of Laco Signs of Libertyville, Illinois, and dedicate a restaurant replica that still exists today on the original site though it is now slated for demolition. The historic red neon-lettered sign turned on for the opening of Kroc’s first store on April 15, 1955 – there is one similar to it preserved in The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan dating from 1960 – proclaimed “McDonald’s Hamburgers” and “We Have Sold Over 1 Million” and, intersecting with an iconic golden arch displayed a neon-animated “Speedee” chef, the fast food chain’s original mascot. (The clown figure of Ronald McDonald first appeared in 1963).

Newspaper advertisement
Newspaper advertisement announcing the opening of Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955. It featured the franchise’s first mascot, Speedee, who was significant to the assembly-line format menu and prevailing automobile culture. Fair Use.
Ray Kroc_s first McDonald_s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois April 15, 1955.
Historic photograph of Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, on opening day, April 15, 1955. Fair Use.
McDonald's first franchise Des Plaines IL.
The replica of McDonald’s first franchise restaurant is missing its golden arches, “McDonald’s” sign over the entrance and its original 1955 Speedee neon lettered sign. They were dismantled and removed in January 2018 by McDonald’s to an undisclosed location out of public view. Photo by author, May 6, 2018.

The day after the original restaurant closed –  Sunday, March 4, 1984 – a McDonald’s restaurant franchise moved across the street into a state-of-the-art new building on a site that once accommodated a Howard Johnson’s and, after that, a Ground Round. The full-service McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois, today continues to operate out of that 1984 building. It may confuse the visitor which exactly is the original site of the first McDonald’s as the newer 1984 building not on the first site displays inside a high-relief metal sign that reads: “The national chain of McDonald’s was born on this spot with the opening of this restaurant.” Though undated, it is signed by Ray Kroc which points to it being brought over from the original restaurant when it was closed. At the replica restaurant on the original site two metal plaques (dated April 15, 1985) properly proclaim: “Ray A. Kroc, founder of McDonald’s Corporation, opened his first McDonald’s franchise (the ninth McDonald’s drive-in in the U.S.) on this site, April 15, 1955.”

A few months after the first franchise restaurant was closed and demolished in 1984, the parcel of land on which it sat – it had only always been leased since 1955 – was purchased by McDonald’s at the same time they announced plans for the replica landmark restaurant.

The original architectural plans by architect Robert Stauber from the mid1950’s were lost, so 1980’s planners applied architectural drawings of McDonald’s restaurants built in the late 1950’s for the replica. Its kitchen included refurbished equipment brought out of storage, including the restaurant’s original six-foot grill. It also displayed one of Ray Kroc’s original multimixers like the ones he sold to Maurice and Richard McDonald that started a fast-food partnership in the 1950’s which by the mid-1960’s inspired many well-known copy cats of McDonald’s model, including Burger King, Burger Chef, Arbys, KFC, and Hardee’s.

Soda_fountain_Multimixer_5-head_malt machine_mfgd_by Sterling_Multiproducts (1)
Soda fountain multimixer. Fair Use.

The original restaurant had been remodeled several times during its almost 30 years of operation but never had much in the way of indoor seating or a drive-through. It did feature a basement and furnace built for Chicago’s four seasons and was used by the replica museum to exhibit items. The McDonald’s Museum was open for tours until September 2008 when the site experienced record-setting flooding from the nearby Des Plaines River. In April 2013 another record flood in Des Plaines submerged the McDonald’s Museum and produced serious speculation that the site would be moved or permanently closed.

Aerial 2013 Des Plaines
An aerial view during the April 2013 Des Plaines River flood shows the partially submerged replica first McDonald’s franchise restaurant (at right) with its original Speedee neon sign. Thesign was first lit on April 15, 1955, a Friday Night. Photo: Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune, April 19, 2013. Fair Use.

In mid-July 2017, only four years since the last significant flood, the area experienced its worst flooding on record. In November 2017 McDonald’s announced it would raze the replica restaurant structure and by May 2018 the site had had its utilities disconnected and its golden arches, Speedee sign, and main entrance McDonald’s sign dismantled and removed. These historically valuable items were taken by McDonald’s out of public view to an undisclosed location. Once again, and this time more seriously it appears, the prospect of pleas by Des Plaines municipal authorities, historic preservationists, social media and others for McDonald’s Corporation to preserve the site intact is murky at best.

Notes:

number of franchises in U.S. 1961 – http://sterlingmulti.com/multimixer_history.html# – retrieved May 8, 2018

number of restaurants 2017- https://www.statista.com/statistics/219454/mcdonalds-restaurants-worldwide/ -retrieved May 8, 2018.

121 countries – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_McDonald%27s_restaurants – retrieved May 8, 2018.

McDonald’s System, Inc; McDonald brothers for $2.7 million; Hamburger University; Kroc’s 1,000 restaurant vision – https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-us/our-history.html – retrieved May 8, 2018.

6,000 McDonald’s restaurants by 1980- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_McDonald%27s#1980s – retrieved May 8, 2018

original architectural plans lost – http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20171120/mcdonalds-plans-to-tear-down-des-plaines-replica-retrieved May 6, 2018.

2008 Des Plaines River flood- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-18/news/chi-des-plaines-roads-flooded-after-storm-20130418_1_des-plaines-river-big-bend-lake-water-levels- retrieved May 8, 2018.

2013 Des Plaines River flood – https://patch.com/illinois/desplaines/bp–des-plaines-river-flood-information-03bfa82b– retrieved May 8, 2018.

2017 Des Plaines River flood

INTERNATIONAL CRISES ACROSS A NUCLEAR AGE: On Donald Trump’s North Korea Crisis (2017) and John F. Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis (1962).

FEATURE image: Hawker-Siddeley Blue Steel was started privately in 1954. A contract was placed in 1956 for a stand-off missile to carry a thermonuclear device with a 1 megaton yield by the British Ministry of Supply. Blue Steel was powered by two Armstrong Siddeley Motors that were ignited on launch and enabled the missile to fly at supersonic speed. The missile was constructed of stainless steel with surfaces manufactured of titanium steel. Blue Steel first entered service in 1962 and remained as Britain’s nuclear deterrent until 1970. (see- https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/collections/hawker-siddeley-blue-steel/) “Hawker Siddeley Blue Steel” by hugh llewelyn is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

By John P. Walsh, dated August 9, 2017

In addition to Twitter, the media tells us that U.S. President Donald J. Trump loves to watch a lot of TV. Has he seen the film: Virtual JFK (2008)?

“Does it matter,” the film’s narrator states, “who is president on issues of war and peace? Can a president make a decisive difference in matters of war and peace? Can a president decisively lead his country into war or keep his country out of war? Or are the forces that drive nations into conflict far more impersonal (and) out of the control of any human being, even a president?”

Donald J. Trump and John F. Kennedy. Similar to JFK in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Trump in 2017 must use the military and moral strength of the U.S. to seek and find a conclusion so that North Korea changes course on their nuclear weapons peacefully. Fair use.

Nine nations stockpile around 16,300 nuclear weapons. The U.S. possesses less than half of them.

In 2014 nine nations around the world—including North Korea—have around 16,300 nuclear weapons. Estimates are that North Korea’s arsenal today may be about 20 warheads or higher. In descending order of warhead amounts, the other nuclear states are Russia (8,000 warheads), the U.S.A. (7,300), France (300), China (250), the UK (225), India and Pakistan (about 100 each) and Israel (80).

According to the National Security Archive, the last tactical nuclear weapons left Cuba in December 1962. For a rogue state such as North Korea to possess nuclear weapons is dangerous and unpredictable to the region and world.

Like JFK in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the U.S. must use its military and moral strength to seek and find a conclusion so that North Korea changes course on their nuclear weapons peacefully. Exactly what that change should look like is an important debate not explored here, but the U.S. must not or never start or provoke a nuclear war to achieve it.

Kennedy prepared for nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but always carefully stayed away from pulling the trigger. There can be no close analogy between Cuba, 90 miles off American shores, in 1962 and North Korea, over 6,000 miles away, in 2017.

The Cold War by the early 1960’s had become a well-worn competitive geopolitical game that hadn’t completely played itself out. The Russians built a wall in Berlin in 1961; Kennedy quarantined Cuba in 1962. In the Cuban Missile Crisis, the missiles were clearly Russian nukes. In 2017 what sources can Trump hold accountable for the North Korean weapons deployment in addition to the rogue regime? China? Russia? Iran? If Pyongyang is as remote and obscure today as the Kremlin was in Kennedy’s time, today’s political and military equations appear to be more tangled and complicated.

JFK: “It will be worse before it gets better.”

Any calculations for war must include those who may or will get killed – and how many. Is American “hyper” power any good if its allies are casualties on a massive scale? No nuclear exchange must result with a hermit kingdom dictator who is not a friend of the U.S. or its allies in the region – especially if war may incalculably spread.

If the U.S. has allies in the true meaning of the word then an attack on them by North Korea (or China or Russia) is equal to an attack on the homeland – otherwise what’s the point of the U.S. having allies at all? The U.S. must protect its allies in the region to the highest degree so to defend and preserve its esteemed alliances. In this ongoing dangerous politico-military standoff there are ramifications with severe strong risk for the U.S. as a global superpower and markedly in East Asia. North Korea must somehow stand down for there to be success from the perspective of the U.S and its allies.

Similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis that endured for 13 straight days—the Korean crisis has gone on arguably for over 60 years — patience and cool-headed leadership joined to a calibration of carrot and stick (preferring the carrot) should serve as worthwhile qualities so to craft a necessarily peaceful and successful outcome.

“Because of the ingenuity of science and man’s own inability to control his relations one with another,” said JFK in 1961 in Virtual JFK, “we happen to live in the most dangerous time in the history of the human race.” The film states that experienced military advisers believed that whenever Americans committed military force – they won the conflict.

Kennedy avoided war –and was almost impeached for it.

But as frequent and strong pressure by many advisers is put on Kennedy to commit the U.S. to a war, the president time and again chose to avoid both conventional and nuclear war. 

It may not be well remembered today but after the failure of the Bay of Pigs in 1961, there was talk of John Kennedy’s impeachment for incompetence. Many in his own Democratic party wouldn’t support him because they had convinced themselves he wasn’t a serious political leader.

JFK: “The United States as the world knows will never start a war.”

In 2017 the defeat of 33-year-old Kim Jong-un’s nuclear threat short of war will not be simply a victory for the status quo but a step forward in terms of American leadership in that part of the world.

Carrot and stick

An actual war –even if nonnuclear and limited which is improbable -– cannot be in any civilized people’s self-interest. Certainly if Kim started a nuclear war, which is very remote but possible, war would come. As Trump stated plainly, on August 8, 2017, the U.S. response would be with “fire and fury.”

President Trump issues a stern warning to North Korea after the latest missile news, saying the nation “best not make any more threats to the United States.”

In October 1962 Kennedy’s speech to the nation on the Cuban Missile Crisis included his own “fiery” rhetoric:

“Third: It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

JFK concluded with the overall purpose of his actions: “Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right – not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”

In 2017 we may look for a resolution to the North Korea crisis where history repeats itself.

All through the Cold War Kennedy looked into the face of strategic MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) without blinking and then chose to evoke the better angels of our nature. At the United Nations in his first year as president (September 25, 1961) Kennedy exhorted the world’s representatives: “Together we shall save our planet – or together we shall perish in its flames. Save it we can.  Save it we must. Then shall we earn the eternal thanks of mankind and, as peacemakers, the eternal blessing of God.”

President Trump would do well to aspire to the same.

NOTES:

Nine nuclear nations – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/nine-nations-have-nuclear-weapons-here-is-how-many-each-country-has-a6827916.html

about 20 warheads – http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/791436/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-kim-jong-un-how-many

Last Cuba warheads removed – http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB449/

Iran and North Korea – http://thediplomat.com/2016/04/the-iran-north-korea-connection/

fire and fury – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/world/asia/north-korea-trump-threat-fire-and-fury.html?_r=0

United Nations speech – https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/United-Nations_19610925.aspx

PART 3 – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE CHICAGO FREEDOM MOVEMENT: Marches and Rallies of Summer 1966.

FEATURE image: At Chicago’s City Hall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Chicago Freedom Movement leaders, July 10, 1966. Following a speech in front of thousands at Soldier Field and a march downtown, Dr. King presented Mayor Daley with fourteen demands for a racially open city.

August 5, 2016 – by John P. Walsh.

Released on July 4, 1966 The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966 and stayed there for three consecutive weeks.1 “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty, been down, isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city. All around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head…” 

In Chicago in 1966 Dr. King promised a summer of nonviolence but that didn’t stop a white Chicago policeman from shooting and killing a 21-year-old Puerto Rican on June 10, 1966 and sparking a riot of the victim’s neighbors who looted stores, torched squad cars and assaulted firefighters called out to quell the blazes. A month earlier Stokely Carmichael, elected by a razor-thin margin over John Lewis to lead the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, pronounced a new Black Power movement that ended that organization’s interracial efforts.

While the Chicago Freedom Movement remained staunchly interracial King warned Daley on July 9, 1966 that the mayor’s aloofness towards fundamental improvements for African-Americans in Chicago could lead to more radical black groups making their own demands. Since black Chicagoans were, despite a fair housing ordinance, mostly restricted to the ghetto where landlords charged higher rents to a captive market, King’s allies believed open access to Chicago’s real estate market was necessary to tackle larger problems of slums, unemployment, and underprivileged schools.

Chicago,Illinois summer 1966.(AP Photo)

Chicago, Illinois, summer 1966 (AP Photo). In the foreground is the Shangri-La with its parking garage and deck at 222 N. State Street. Billed on its matchbooks as “the world’s most romantic restaurant” the Far Eastern/Polynesian themed establishment opened in 1944 and closed in 1968.  The 65-story Marina Towers (background) opened in 1963. When completed in 1968 the twin towers were both the tallest residential buildings and the tallest reinforced concrete structures in the world.

Released on July 4, 1966, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966 and stayed there for three consecutive weeks.

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Mayor Richard J. Daley views the Chicago skyline in 1966 from atop the new Daley Center. Daley was focused on downtown development in the mid-1960’s and viewed King largely as an outsider with his own political agenda who simplified complex urban social problems for which Chicago was not completely at fault.

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Martin Luther King Jr., with Stokely Carmichael in Mississippi in 1966. Although King saw Carmichael as a most promising young leader, in May 1966 Carmichael declared a new Black Power movement that ended the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s interracial efforts. The Chicago Freedom Movement to which King was attached stayed staunchly interracial.

Dr. King exits the tenement apartment at 1550 S. Hamlin on Chicago's West Side where his family stayed in 1966

Dr. King exits the tenement apartment at 1550 S. Hamlin on Chicago’s West Side where his family stayed during the Chicago Freedom Movement in 1966. American Friends Service Committee found that white and black families paid about the same in monthly rent but whites earned half as much more as what blacks earned. They found that for the same money blacks on average lived in about 15% less space (3.35 to 3.95 rooms). King looked to solve these and other socioeconomic discrepancies in his 1966 Chicago sojourn.

1550 S. Hamlin, Chicago June 2018

1550 S. Hamlin on Chicago’s West Side, the redeveloped site where King and his family stayed during the Chicago Freedom Movement in 1966. Screenshot October 29, 2018.

Mathias “Paddy” Bauler who in 1955 famously quipped that “Chicago ain’t ready for a reform mayor”2 was still an active Northside Chicago alderman in 1966. To some Chicagoans, Bauler’s colorful quip should have been Mayor Daley’s prevailing opinion towards open housing. In July and August 1966 King’s street marches into the white-only neighborhoods of Gage Park, Marquette Park and Chicago Lawn3 were intended to showcase the Chicago Freedom Movement’s reform message of open housing.

Following a rally at Soldier Field on Sunday, July 10, 1966 where King spoke to thousands of supporters including these words, “we will no longer sit idly by in agonizing deprivation and wait on others to provide our freedom,”4 he then led thousands on a march to City Hall. Marching peacfully three miles from the lakefront into downtown, King posted the Chicago Freedom Movement’s fourteen demands for a racially open city at City Hall. The next day Daley met with King but the pair, who personally respected one another, floundered at an impasse.

King was impatient for direct action but Daley was passive and noncommittal. Afterwards King made clear to Daley that these were 14 demands, not suggestions. From Daley’s viewpoint, King was a public relations disaster for Chicago because he was an outsider articulating simple solutions to complex and not always only local social problems. King indicated an inclination that it was time to march into the neighborhoods.

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Sunday, July 10, 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a 12-page speech at a rally for civil rights at Soldier Field in Chicago that drew tens of thousands of supporters of open housing, better education and increased employment opportunities for the city’s black community. Photo: the Sun-Times archives.

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The crowd and Dr. King at the Chicago Freedom Movement rally on Sunday, July 10, 1966, at Soldier Field. Photograph by Bernard Kleina.

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Following a rally for civil rights at Soldier Field in Chicago where Dr. King addressed the crowd on Sunday, July 10, 1966, thousands marched through downtown Chicago to City Hall.

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The march ended when the list of demands was nailed to the door of Chicago’s City Hall.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Chicago’s City Hall on July 10, 1966.

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King met with a passive and noncommittal Daley in City Hall on Monday, July 11, 1966 (this photo, March 24, 1966). The antagonists met infrequently in 1966 to address The Chicago Freedom Movement’s issues and each time King left with vague, piecemeal promises for change.

On July 14, 1966, three days after the Daley-King meeting, a drifter named Richard Speck tortured, raped, and murdered eight female student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital on the south side of Chicago. Speck, born in an Illinois farm town in 1941, lived in Dallas for the last 15 years and, running from the law there, only arrived into Chicago in April 1966. In the pall of a July heatwave, the serial killer was on the loose in the city for three days – a police sketch plastered everywhere in newspapers and on TV – until he was arrested on July 17, 1966. These gruesome killings were called “The Crime of the Century” and added panic, gloom and a general fear to an already tense city.5

Two weeks later, on August 1, 1966, in Austin, Texas, Charles Whitman, shot 49 victims from the bell tower of the University of Texas, killing 17 – and brought the term “mass shooting” into the American popular discourse.

These violent crimes precipitated ramped-up tension in Chicago and the nation in the hot and muggy summer of 1966. Already gripped by an escalating Vietnam War as well as massive civil rights movements, women’s rights movements, youth counter-cultural movements, and even radical church reform (“Vatican II”) movements, American society was swiftly and increasingly wrapped into a tight fist of revolutionary social change whose resistance to it tended to exacerbate the possibility of what King called “social disaster.”

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Violent crimes of mass murderers Richard Speck in Chicago in midJuly 1966 and Charles Whitman in Texas in August 1966 worked to ramp-up tension people felt in Chicago during the long, hot summer of 1966.

Speck’s horrendous crimes came in the same week when Chicago police shot and killed two black Chicagoans, including a pregnant 14-year-old girl, during riots on the predominantly black West Side that Daley blamed on King. King denied any such connection and told Daley that if it wasn’t for the Chicago Freedom Movement’s preaching nonviolence those riots would have mushroomed into another Watts. To King’s way of thinking these disturbances among a swath of the city’s population should serve as the clarion call to Daley to act boldly on behalf of the black community and begin to enact the 14 demands brought to him to make Chicago a racially open city.6

Instead Daley’s response was to mobilize 4,000 members of the National Guard to restore law and order. In the wake of the violence—with police brutality blamed by the police on the rioters—another meeting between Daley and King took place where they agreed on a handful of reforms– (1) to establish a citizen’s advisory committee on police and community relations; (2) that grassroots workers go door to door in riot-affected areas to advise calm; and, (3) a new investment to build more swimming pools in black areas.

King was unimpressed with what he considered Daley’s lackadaisical approach and local media mocked the mayor’s feeble plan.

“Get Ready” by Smokey Robinson was recorded by The Temptations in December 1965 and released in February 1966. It landed at no.1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart and reached no. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. The up-tempo dance number was led by the falsetto of The Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks. Since The Temptations were formed in Detroit, Michigan, in 1961, the male vocal group has proven to be one of rock history’s most enduring groups who are unparalleled in their artistic and commercial success.

For his part, King started “walking,” that is, organizing marches into the city’s largely white neighborhoods adjacent to black ones so to highlight the need for open housing. KIng also re-started talks with Chicago gang members to convince them to forsake violence and join his nonviolent racially integrated movement.7

Since Daley viewed Chicago as having more accomplishments than problems in the area of race relations and that, further, the Mayor publicly considered the outsider King to be a selfish agitator, many white residents of soon-to-be-marched-upon city neighborhoods assumed Daley would take their side.

But Daley’s politics of law and order and incremental social change succeeded in alienating almost everyone. In the Chicago mayoral election in 1967 black voter turnout and support for Daley disappeared and did not return for him in subsequent mayoral contests in 1971 or 1975. Meanwhile, white residents felt the fatal sting of being “betrayed”by the city powers as Daley did not stop the marches from going forward.

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The north edge of Marquette Park in early 2016. Photograph by author.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, center, and a Chicago building janitor, Robert DeBose, left, exchange words on the eviction of two families from the building. DeBose contended the families were evicted for not paying rent. He said many of the building's problems were caused by people who refused to keep it clean.

The Rev. Martin Luther King and Chicago building janitor Robert DeBose, left, discuss the eviction of families from the building. DeBose contended the families were evicted for not paying rent.

The first march was on Saturday, July 16, 1966 when a group of 120 demonstrators marched from Englewood into Marquette Park “for a picnic.” The next day, Sunday, July 17, 1966 about 200 marchers, taunted by neighborhood whites, held a prayer vigil outside a Gage Park church. Almost two weeks later, on Thursday, July 28, 1966, protesters began an all-night vigil at 63rd Street and Kedzie Avenue at a realty company that systematically discriminated against black buyers looking to move into Gage Park. The realtors had been reported to the Chicago Commission on Human Relations but nothing happened. White counter demonstrators appeared and with nightfall Chicago police struck a deal for the lawful open housing (or open occupancy) protesters to file into paddy wagons for safe escort back to the ghetto.

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Dr. King attended two marches in Marquette Park on August 5, 1966 and, shown here, South Deering on August 21, 1966.

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Movement leaders Al Raby (left), James Bevel (second from right) and Jesse Jackson (center) protest in front of the Chicago Real Estate Board in downtown Chicago.

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Chicago Lawn white hecklers during a Chicago Freedom Movement march in summer 1966.

Chicago Police in Marquette Park on August 5, 1966.

Chicago Police in Marquette Park on August 5, 1966. Their presence did not prevent severe rioting by white mobs that day.

On July 30, 1966 about 250 open housing protesters, furious about the recent night’s humiliation, looked to return to the same southwest side intersection. They were met by bottles and rocks thrown by whites so that the protesters retreated again east of Ashland Avenue into Englewood. When demonstrators marched out of Englewood again on July 31, 1966 more than 500 whites met them as the protesters crossed Ashland Avenue on 63rd Street. Armed with cherry bombs, rocks, bricks, and bottles, the surly mob grew to over 4,000 whites where they burned cars and injured around 50 open-occupancy protesters, including a first grade teacher hit by a projectile.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Jesse Jackson in Chicago. King holds a Chicago Daily News paper with a headline that reads "City Seeks To Cut Marches.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Jesse Jackson in Chicago. King holds a Chicago Daily News with a headline that reads “City Seeks To Cut Marches.”

On August 2, 1966, Daley met with white homeowner groups from the southwest side. In addition for calling for law and order from blacks and whites, the mayor acknowledged the open housing protesters had a legal right to march. Daley, through an intermediary, sent King modest housing improvement and integration proposals which King rejected and Daley implemented anyway. Daley next sent to an embattled King some local black aldermen who opposed the Chicago Freedom Movement but carried more substantial housing and employment offers from City Hall. The city government hoped that King, who was known to be looking for a way out of Chicago with a tangible victory, might accept a negotiated pact and call an end to the campaign. With these serious talks going on between Daley and King, the late summer marches for open housing continued under an increasingly vicious white backlash.

A mob attacks a car during the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.s Aug. 5, 1966march to Marquette Park shortly. Bernard Kleina

A white mob attacks a car during the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s August. 5, 1966 march to Marquette Park. Photo by Bernard Kleina.

White rioters at Clark gas station in Marquette Park on August 5, 1966.

White rioters encountering Chicago police at a Clark gas station in Marquette Park on August 5, 1966. A Confederate flag is on the right. Photo by Bernard Kleina.

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Whites moving east on 63rd Street to confront marchers on the way to Marquette Park on August 5, 1966. The Clark gas station in the background is the site of the photos by Bernard Kleina.

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The infrastructure of the former Clark gas station still exists today on 63rd street (July 2018). Screen shot dated October 29, 2018.

3055 W. 63rd Street Chicago Oct 2015 view from the west

The old Clark gas station looking east on 63rd Street at Whipple. Screenshot October 29, 2018.

On Friday, August 5, 1966, Al Raby and Mahalia Jackson led a group of about 500 open occupancy protesters into Marquette Park in south Chicago Lawn. A white mob of over 10,000 had gathered there and verbally abused the marchers and then turned physically violent. King, who up to this point had not participated in these marches, arrived and joined the march on the north side of the park. It was here, between Francisco and Mozart Streets south of Marquette Road that Martin Luther King was struck in the head behind the right ear by a baseball-sized rock and felled to one knee.

The open housing marchers, angry and disgusted, made their way the short distance out of the park and towards 63rd and Kedzie where King dodged a knife thrown at him. The crowd began to shout “Kill him!” as well as other racially charged epithets and about 2,500 whites now started throwing bottles, burned cars, smashed bus windows and clashed with police for the next five hours.

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King with (from left) Mahalia Jackson, Jesse Jackson, and Al Raby at the New Friendship Baptist Church at 848 W 71st St in Chicago —the staging point for the 3 and a half miles walk to Marquette Park —on August 4, 1966. Photo: Chicago Tribune.

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Marching south down Kedzie Avenue to Marquette Park in Chicago on August 5, 1966. Bourne Chapel is located at 6541 S. Kedzie, just two blocks from the park. Today the funeral home is gone. The yellow-brick building housing Tony’s Barber Shop in 1966 is still there today, though the barber shop business is gone. Photo by Bernard Kleina.

Bourne chapel 6541 S. Kedzie Chicago July 2018.
King after being struck by a rock at the August 5 protest. PHOTO CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. falls after being struck by a rock from a taunting white mob in Marquette Park in Chicago on August 5, 1966. King would also dodge a knife hurled at him in the park. King soberly reacted by saying: “Oh, I’ve been hit so many times I’m immune to it.”

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Vandals overturn a car before the August 5 march in Marquette Park. Photograph by Jim Klepitsch.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with supporters in Marquette Park shortly after someone hurled a rock or brick that hit him in the head. Bernard Kleina

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with supporters in Marquette Park shortly after someone hurled a rock that hit him in the head. Photo by Bernard Kleina.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comments on that day’s violence entered the annals of civil rights and American history and marks a failing grade for Chicago: “I’ve been in many demonstrations across the south, but I can say I have never seen – even in Mississippi and Alabama – mobs as hostile and hate-filled as I’ve seen in Chicago. I think the people from Mississippi ought to come to Chicago to learn how to hate.”9

A permanent memorial to Dr. King and the Chicago Freedom Movement was erected in Marquette Park on August 5, 2016 for the 50th anniversary of the Marquette Park marches. This MLK Living Memorial at 67th Street and Kedzie Avenue includes a bench to contemplate the 300 tiles created by Chicagoans of all ages representing their understanding of “Home” and representations of a diverse community who continue to work to advance Dr. King’s vision of peace and justice.

During a news conference in Chicago on Sept. 15, 1966, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, called the 10-point open housing agreement reached with Mayor Richard Daley and other civic, business and religious leaders "a one-round victory in a 15-round battle." King had named Chicago his first target in the North for racial equality the previous winter.

In Chicago on Sept. 15, 1966, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, characterized an open housing agreement reached with Mayor Richard Daley and civic, business and religious leaders “a one-round victory.” King had named Chicago his first target in the North for racial equality in January 1966.

NOTES:

  1. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Hot 100″Billboard(Nielsen) 78 (33): 22. 1966-08-13.
  2. On Mathias “Paddy” Bauler – http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/527.html; Challenging the Daley Machine: A Chicago Alderman’s Memoir,  Leon M. Despres and Kenan Heise, Northwestern University Press, 2005, 3.
  3. In 1960 virtually no blacks – only 7 according to that year’s U.S. Census– lived among a white population of 100,000 in Gage Park/Chicago Lawn/Marquette Park areas – cited in American Pharoah: Mayor Richard J. Daley His Battle for Chicago and the Nation, Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor, Little Brown and Company, New York, 2000, p. 392. Fifty years after the Marquette Park march in 2016, the surrounding neighborhood of Chicago Lawn is a very different place from the all-white enclave King encountered. Whites now account for just 4.5 percent of the neighborhood’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. African-Americans make up 49 percent and Hispanics 45 percent –http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/mitchell-rev-martin-luther-king-still-bringing-us-together/- retrieved August 5, 2016.
  4. Soldier field rally quote- http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/speech-chicago-freedom-movement-rally# – retrieved August 5, 2016.
  5. On Speck murders – see http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1986-07-06/features/8602180462_1_richard-speck-cab-driver-bags – (and following) retrieved August 5, 2016; See The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the  Murders that Shocked the Nation,” Dennis L. Breo and William J. Martin, 2016, Skyhorse Publishing.
  6. Results of West Side riots – American Pharoah, p. 389; Substance of 14 demands – Ibid., p. 385.
  7. Media mock Daley’s plan and King re-engages gang members– Ibid., 389-391.
  8. Black voter support declines – Black Politics in Chicago, William J. Grimshaw, Loyola University Presas, 1980, p. 25; whites feel “betrayed” – American Pharoah, p. 394.
  9. American Pharoah, p. 392-396 and http://sites.middlebury.edu/chicagofreedommovement/don-rose/ – retrieved August 5, 2016.
  10. C.T. Vivian quotation and text below- Image is Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0.) SOURCE: https://aha.confex.com/aha/2012/webprogram/Paper9589.html

Chicago public school teacher Al Raby (left) of the CCCO and Edwin “Bill” Berry (right) of the Chicago Urban League inspect the open-housing agreement reached in Chicago in late August 1966 with Ross Beatty (center) of the Chicago Real Estate Board. It contained mostly broad volunteer promises for modest integration in all Chicago neighborhoods by the end of 1967, a mayoral election year. At an August 26, 1966 meeting at a downtown hotel with King and Daley both present — and after city faith leaders promised their resolute support of the agreement — Ross Beatty only tepidly endorsed the plan: “Well,” he confessed, “we’ll do all we can, but I don’t know how I can do it.”

The Dr. Martin Luther King Living Memorial is on the north side of Marquette Park in Chicago where the park is bisected by busy Kedzie Avenue. It was near this location that Dr. King, as he led protesters into the park during the historic Chicago Freedom Movement march on August 5, 1966, so to protest for open housing, was struck in the head and felled to the ground by a projectile thrown at him by angry white mobs who had gathered and were throwing bottles, rocks and bricks.

The memorial was dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the march (August 5, 2016). It is composed of a plaza, low seating wall, and three carved brick rectangular obelisks by artists Sonja Henderson and John Pittman Weber. The sculptural reliefs depict Dr. King and other prominent community members who marched with him that day. The video was taken during my visit on June 19, 2022.

If you liked this blog post , please visit Parts 1 and Part 2 in the series here:

Also visit the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotations Page here:

The role of SUPERDELEGATES in the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primaries. Does the party establishment win the battle and lose the war?

FEATURE image: “Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton – Caricatures” by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Bernie Sanders. “Bernie Sanders” by Nathan Congleton is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
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Hillary Clinton. “Hillary Clinton” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

By John Walsh – 4:00 pm Chicago time, April 27, 2016.

Despite the corporate media’s unabashed favoritism for Hillary Clinton when reporting the news – it is reminiscent of the Cold War days when Americans were told about the partisan propaganda at Pravda (a frightening journalistic prospect should it ever arrive in some form to America) – the delegate count from April 26, 2016’s five primaries (4 closed and 1 hybrid) comes down to this: a net gain of 52 PLEDGED delegates for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders– or around 2% of the total needed to reach the magic number of 2383 to become the Democratic presidential nominee.

As of April 27, 2016, Bernie Sanders had 1299 PLEDGED delegates and Hillary Clinton 1632 PLEDGED delegates. Neither candidate will likely reach 2,383 delegates– that is, not without the party SUPERdelegates of which Clinton has 519 and Sanders has 39.

It should be well known that the Democratic Party’s nominating process as it is presently constituted is a jimied system, bloated on big money and favoring the status quo, and that its category SUPERdelegates have and will flock to Clinton.

The SUPERdelegates’ reasons to support Clinton may reflect but also transcend her qualifications to be president. The special category of delegates can also work to aid a candidate’s success who may or may not be able to win outright these primaries even under present rules deemed fair. 

In Connecticut’s closed primary on April 26, for instance, Clinton won a net gain of 2 PLEDGED delegates over Sanders based on the people’s vote in that contest but she also received an additional 15 SUPERdelegates there (Bernie picked up zero in the state). In Connecticut Hillary won over 170,000 votes to gain 27 PLEDGED delegates and Sanders won over 153,000 votes to gain 25 PLEDGED delegates – or about 6,300 voters per delegate. Yet Clinton picked up those additional 15 SUPERdelegates cast by 15 fellow Americans whose vote, in this case, has a power equivalent to a bloc of 95,000 ordinary Connecticut voters and, further, basically ginned up the Clinton vote by almost 50%.

This sort of election process flouts the enshrined  “one man/woman, one vote” rule. rather it is a hybrid of the ordinary voter and a handful of special voters who can beknight a candidate and those happy few in the ordinary voter pool who agree with them.

The present Clinton delegate lead and the corporate media reporting that she is the “presumptive nominee” is part chimera as it is based very much on the SUPERdelegate regime and its establishment clique. Democratic Party; my foot.

Bernie Sanders in 2016. “Bernie Sanders 2016” by photogism is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Bernie Sanders in West Virginia has a 30-point lead in voter polls over Hillary Clinton for the May 10, 2016 primary. Yet they so far split the number of pledged SUPERdelegates though no votes have even been counted.

Hillary Clinton. “Hillary Clinton” by Nrbelex is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

On April 26, 2016 Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania’s primary by 20% in the popular vote over Sanders yet was awarded 1,800% more in SUPERdelegate votes.

It should be expected that in states where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and most of the PLEDGED delegates that she would pick up more of these SUPERdelegates.

Yet such was not the case in 2016 in New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Maine, “Dems Abroad,” Michigan, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island. In these 12 states (and one constituency) it was Bernie Sanders who won the popular vote and the most PLEDGED delegates but Clinton who picked up all or most of the SUPERdelegates – an additional 77 of them in fact.

In a nomination process for president based on delegate count – which delegates? – this kind of system appears or is “rigged.” Voting results in other states exacerbates the perception of politburo-like favoritism at the DNC and its SUPERdelegate regime. Namely, that when Clinton won the popular vote and most PLEDGED delegates she also still gained all or most of the SUPERdelegates. What gives, America?

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978), Freedom of Speech, 1943.

In all of April 26’s five primary states, Clinton picked up 63 SUPERdelegates and Bernie Sanders picked up one (in Maryland, a state he lost).

Sanders won over 1.1 million votes for his one SUPERdelegate and Clinton won about 27,000 votes for each of hers.

SUPERdelegates are where the action is!

If this is the manner in which the Democrats nominate their party’s presidential candidate it works as a deleterious effect for that candidate’s legitimacy for the general election.

Unfortunately, it is likely some or all of these wildly unfair SUPERdelegates will facilitate the nomination of either Sanders or Clinton unless one of those candidates achieves the magic number of 2,383 in PLEDGED delegates. This is a worthy goal which still remains possible – especially for Clinton.

Clinton euphoric, Sanders in hysterics” by Eusibeus is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

There are 1209 PLEDGED delegates on the table in the final 14 contests and a much smaller indeterminate number of UNPLEDGED delegates (about 195).

Based on PLEDGED delegates, Hillary Clinton would need to win from this point onward 751 of them (62%) and Sanders 1084 of them (89%). These are high and higher electoral numbers for each so one of them secures 2383 in PLEDGED delegates.

Hillary’s challenge to go into the convention with enough PLEDGED delegates has an outside hope to be realistically achievable but it remains likely she will need SUPERdelegates to put her over the top as the party’s standard bearer.

So, if an incomplete slate of PLEDGED delegates is all one needs to be nominated, why not nominate Sanders?

Under this arcane and untrustworthy nominating system, Hillary appears to hold most of the political cards. Sanders can fight on and look to bargain for platform items but the Clinton people will be looking over his shoulder to his voters.

How many of Bernie’s voters do they need to win the general election in November? From that point, deals can be brokered. If Clintonites can peel off enough Bernie voters outright with corporate media-driven stories about party unity and fear mongering over Donald Trump, then any Clinton-Sanders deal may be difficult. But if enough Bernie supporters getting on board for Clinton is problematic –if they clamor for Sanders to be the nominee or on the ticket, or that more of their political beliefs be incorporated into the 2016 Democratic Party platform suchas on campaign finance reform, breaking up the big banks, free public university education, universal medical insurance, a fracking ban, a $15 minimum wage, etc.– all positions spurned by Clinton and her voters – then things should get hugely interesting in Philadelphia in July.

Further, for each of the 14 upcoming primary contests – from Indiana on May 3 to Washington, D.C. on June 14 – Clinton already has 106 SUPERdelegates committed to her candidacy (Bernie has 8). Not a single vote by the people has been counted in any of those places. Welcome to the party.

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NOTES

30 point lead in WV – http://mic.com/articles/136039/sanders-has-a-30-point-lead-over-clinton-in-west-virginia-here-s-why-that-matters#.MU5rBef2z

For primary election results – see: http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president

For state by state delegate distribution – see: http://www.electionprojection.com/democratic-nomination-delegates/

PARTS 1 & 2 – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE CHICAGO FREEDOM MOVEMENT: Coming to Chicago and the Start of the Campaign in 1966.

FEATURE image: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1965.

By John P. Walsh

The first nonviolent civil rights campaign in the North led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) started in Chicago, Illinois, on January 5, 1966—50 years ago this month.

The multi-pronged campaign was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s first major effort outside the South and the first following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. King’s coming to Chicago was greatly influenced by the Watts riots in August 1965 where those deadly six days demonstrated to King and the nation the high cost in human lives and property associated with deep discontentment in the black community over isolating and chronic high unemployment, substandard housing, and inadequate schools.

King’s consideration to come to Chicago in 1966 was further energized by national issues activated by a local focus: in this case, King’s broad support for recent Federal complaints brought by the Chicago Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO) alleging segregation in the Chicago public schools. As there was a huge new Federal aid package for those public schools in the nation which desegregated by the start of the 1965-1966 school year, a charge of segregation in a state in the north and in the nation’s second largest city was unexpected, provocative, and dangerous to the natural progression of the status quo.

Led by former school teacher Albert Raby (on KIng’s left), the CCCO was a coalition of a number of disparate and sometimes contentious groups including the local branches of CORE, the Catholic Interracial Council, and the Urban League, among others. Here, King and Raby meet the Chicago press along with SCLC leader Bayard Rustin (on King’s right).

The status quo in Chicago, at least in terms of its politics, was embodied in one man: Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902-1976). King’s intention to come to Chicago instead of to another big northern city was that he figured to find in Mayor Daley a powerful ally to his civil rights movement. Already Daley vocalized agreement in principle with King’s message of open housing and racial justice, but King’s potential challenge to any aspect of the mayor’s absolute political power never gained Daley’s sympathy or recognition.

Many in Chicago’s local civil rights community, however, welcomed Dr. King’s presence in Chicago in 1966. Activists like Dick Gregory had marched on City Hall — and into Bridgeport to Daley’s home — dozens of times but to no avail in terms of tangible policy changes for blacks in a city where blacks constituted 25% of its population. Perhaps the efforts of Dr.King in Chicago could break the deadlock. 

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights had recently labeled Chicago “the most residentially segregated city in the nation” but Daley chose to see it differently. There was no legal segregation in Chicago and Daley believed it was simply a “city of neighborhoods.” The 63-year-old Daley also felt that if government handouts were not downright un-American then, by 1965, big Federal programs should be administered at the local or city level and not from Washington.


Stevie Wonder’s single “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” was released in late November 1965 and peaked at no. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1966 and was no. 1 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart for 5 weeks. Co-written by 15-year-old Stevie Wonder, the song was a watershed for his career. It was one of three singles in the early-mid1960’s that peaked in the top 40 on both charts and “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” also launched the next stage of Wonder’s recording career into the second half of the 1960’s.
1920’s flats in Bridgeport in 2015, the Chicago neighborhood of Mayor Richard J. Daley.
Chicago slums, 1950.

While Daley’s home rule views appealed to some Chicagoans, other Chicago neighborhoods stayed in flux. There had been a longstanding mistrust, for example, between poor West Side residents—most of whom were black and concentrated by the mid1960’s into a vast ghetto—and a largely white Chicago police and fire departments. In the summer of 1965 street riots in West Garfield Park effectively produced the integration of 40 of 132 firehouses where calls for integration had been resisted since the early 1950’s.

The City of Chicago’s contrariness to aspects of President Johnson’s Great Society carried into the office of Chicago’s Education chief Benjamin C. Willis. In October 1965 Willis defied federal mandates for the release of requested materials as well as blocked the use of new national achievement tests in city public schools. This led to Chicago being temporarily denied their part of the massive $1.3 billion federal aid to schools program.

President Lyndon B. Johnson (r.) meets with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in the White House, April 21, 1966. Photograph by Yoichi Okamoto (1915-1985).

The overall Mayor Daley-President Johnson alliance was strong in late 1965 and the federal aid money called into question was restored within the week. Further, the federal official who had cited Daley’s public schools for contempt of Federal segregation mandates was demoted.

It was into this political hothouse that Dr. King decided to build a civil rights campaign for open housing, jobs, and educational opportunity for African-Americans which in October 1965 Daley announced he welcomed with open arms.

Meanwhile Daley was also mobilizing local black and other elected officials in Chicago to establish their own community action programs to co-opt or sideline any of King’s anticipated civil rights initiatives and efforts. This important time when Dr. King came to live and work in Chicago from January to August 1966 and its immediate legacy came to be called the “Chicago Freedom Movement.”


In January of 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr., arrives into the tenement apartment on the West Side to begin the Chicago Campaign. The nine-month campaign gave birth to bringing before the nation its widespread issues of poverty and racial injustice. As King mounted these steps into the cold, rundown set of rooms, he was equally walking into the complex politics, problems and hurdles associated with this big northern city whose Democratic mayor, Richard J. Daley, was known as “Boss.”

It was on Wednesday, January 26, 1966, that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King installed themselves into a West Side apartment in a low-income Chicago neighborhood on the West Side.

At the outset the SCLC and their allies were political outsiders in Chicago and mainly sought an amenable agreement with the established political powers in a city embodied by 63-year-old Richard J. Daley, its mayor since 1955.

In the middle of the cold and brutal Chicago winter King humbly began his campaign by stating that he was looking to study the city’s social conditions.

King wanted to know which nonviolent campaign tactics—whether it was street marches, voter registration drives, rallies, fund raisers, or something else—would be effective to progress the objectives of job creation, open housing,  educational opportunity for African-Americans and, by summer of 1966, slum clean-up and a citizen’s review board for police brutality and misconduct.

Martin Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta Scott King after moving into an apartment at 1550 S. Hamlin Avenue in Chicago on January 26, 1966. King moved into the tenement apartment to highlight segregated housing conditions in Chicago and launch a campaign to end slums in the city. — Chicago Tribune, Feb. 24, 1966.
With furniture provided from local second-hand stores, Martin and Coretta Scott King are pictured on the first day in their Chicago Lawndale apartment on 1550 S. Hamlin Avenue. King’s first act in Chicago in January 1966 gained national media attention which helped to publicize the conditions of Chicago slum apartments. Photograph by John Tweedle.
Martin Luther King Jr. helps remove a window frame while renovating an apartment at 1321 S. Loman Ave., in Chicago in 1966. King moved into a West Side apartment to highlight housing segregation issues in Chicago. — Luigi Mendicino, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 24, 1966. he SCLC and CCCO together with the Westside Federation became extralegal ‘trustees’ of the building with the tenants paying their rent to the SCLC, which used the money to make repairs. Male tenants of the building were hired as laborers and paid King’s proposed new minimum wage, $2.00 per hour. (The minimum wage in 1966 was $1.25.) King told Betty Washington, a reporter for the Defender, that the experiment of taking over that building would give Movement leaders insight into “the kind of social planning that might reverse this trend of degradation of our nation’s cities and contribute to the kind of community awareness that will bring new life and new hope to the slums of this city.” Photograph by Luigi Mendicino, Chicago Tribune, February 24, 1966.
Coretta Scott King at the Homan Avenue tenement in Chicago in 1966 tenement her husband’s campaign had taken control of and worked to repair. It was about 5 minutes by car from the King home on Hamlin.

“Baby Scratch My Back” written and performed by “swamp blues” singer Slim Harpo (1924-1970) was a number one hit playing on the radio in 1966.

As King spoke about a “closed society” in Chicago, the elected political power structure out of the Mayor’s office maintained an omnipotent grip on city services as a vicious circle of poverty in some black neighborhoods was permitted to exist. It was complicated by the Mayor’s assertions that there “were no ghettos” in Chicago though Black citizens were de facto restricted to living in only certain of Daley’s “city of neighborhoods.”

King’s outsider status—which at first was understood as a mostly useful factor among Chicago’s civil rights activists—also worked to undermine King’s effectiveness in Chicago throughout 1966.

King and his circle were unfamiliar with Chicago’s vast size and complicated demographics. Also, perhaps unexpectedly, opposition to King’s efforts didn’t always fall cleanly along racial lines.

Whether coming from whites or Blacks, resentment to the Atlanta-based minister in Chicago usually always revolved around his being viewed as an interloper and potential power rival.

Dr. Joseph H. Jackson (1905-1990), president of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., and pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago was bitterly opposed to the Chicago Freedom Movement and made rancorous attacks against Dr. King while he was in Chicago. In 1963 Dr. Jackson was booed off the stage with Mayor Daley at an NAACP rally in Grant Park in 1963.

Support from Chicago Black ministers, a natural political base for King, was frequently blunted in 1966 by intimidating reminders from City Hall that this or that certain church would be having its building or fire code inspection coming up.  

Moreover, big cities across the nation, including Chicago, were looking to receive a huge influx of money out of Washington, D.C. including part of a new $2.3 billion anti-slum program (about 17 billion in 2015 dollars). This huge infusion of money to Chicago was part of programs marking President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society.”

King was politely pressured by city officals to forego what could only be seen as futile and time-wasting efforts of meetings and trash drives so to allow the Chicago mayor and his allies to get down to the serious work of eliminating city slums by, as Daley announced, no later than the end of 1967.

Daley’s home-court advantage and enormous financial support from the Democratic U.S. president and Congress gave Dr. King’s civil rights operation among the poor and dispossessed an appearance of superfluity, if not outright meddling.

Tactically, on every front, Daley tried to match King’s organizational efforts often by simply buying off King’s allies.

When King filled the International Amphitheatre on South Halsted Street with 12,000 Black celebrities and supporters on March 12, 1966 for a rally, Daley led 70,000 marchers and 350,000 spectators down State Street in the St. Patrick’s Day parade a few days later.

Mayor Richard Daley leading the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on State Street in 1963.

After the SCLC took a supra-legal action to seize a dilapidated tenement building, Daley limited his response which left King to deal with all the legal and public relations headaches.

King was not naïve about his own position. He did not want the Chicago Freedom Movement to become politicized. Daley had a mayoral primary in February 1967— he was running unopposed for a fourth four-year term. Some King allies in Chicago wanted an opposition candidate to coalesce around the Chicago Freedom Movement and run against the Boss mayor.

King refused the idea. Despite the political leeway, Daley worked continuously in 1966 to limit and even sideline King’s efforts in Chicago. King’s hope that the Irish-American big city northern mayor would risk or trade political power for King’s agenda of social justice and civil rights on behalf of the city’s African-Americans —historically a full third of the population —was mostly dashed in 1966.

Daley’s selective embraces of King never offset the mayor’s overall strategy to restrain the civil rights leader’s efficacy in Chicago. At the same time Daley did not want his restraint of King to impact or curb the broad voter support that the Daley administration had.

Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. discusses fair housing with Gilbert Balin, of G. Balin Inc. real estate agents in Chicago. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference launched a campaign to end slums in the city, which would become known as the Chicago Freedom Movement. — Jack Mulcahy, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 3, 1966.

Regardless of Daley’s defensive efforts, King did not lose sight of his message of improved housing, education and economic development for African-Americans in Chicago. At this still early juncture of his time in Chicago, KIng carried on with his own civil rights campaign leaving any direct confrontation with Mayor Daley for the future.

One SCLC initiative that scored quick success was a project started in February 1966 headed by Rev. Jesse Jackson called Operation Breadbasket (later renamed Operation PUSH). Within months there were several hundred new Black hires in Chicago-area businesses by way of this action.

Rev. Jackson at an Operation Breadbasket event, May 9, 1970. Photo by Chris Holmes.
Beyond the Hamlin ‘trusteeship’ and Operation Breadbasket, King spent those first late winter and early spring months in Chicago getting to know the city and formulating a plan. He visited with black and white leaders including the powerful mayor, Richard M. Daley, and the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad. He also worked to convert gang members to the philosophy of non-violence and met with a large variety of community groups. Here he walks with members of the East Garfield Park Community Organization. Photograph by John Tweedle.

King’s months-long presence in Chicago in 1966 could also be credited for prompting Mayor Daley to establish new city programs. Daley also hosted various “summits” with clergy, labor and business leaders with the agenda to combat poverty and racism in Chicago.

In August 1966, Daley, with the support of the Chicago Freedom Movement, accepted the departure of public schools Chief Benjamin Willis and the appointment of James F. Redmond, a racial progressive. Still, Daley considered only white men for the post and overlooked two qualified Black candidates.

One thing Dr. King considered a key effort to improve African-American lives in the ghetto was to transform gang members into nonviolent civil rights activists. When a gunfight at a SCLC meeting in May 1966 broke out between Blackstone Rangers and East Side Disciples that appeared to end King’s official initiative in this direction.  

Meanwhile, Richard J. Daley continued his downtown redevelopment. In March 1966 Daley announced a $200 million package for mass transit and made sure the Civic Federation — a good government watchdog group — was there to endorse it. In addition to Loop and North Michigan Avenue redevelopment Daley dedicated in May 1966 the Civic Center, soon to be graced by the iconic Picasso sculpture in 1967.

Now the long, hot days of a Chicago summer were at the doorstep. Many in the city wondered in 1966 to what extent Dr. King’s plans might add to the heat.

King’s apartment during 1966 in Chicago at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue was damaged during the riots that followed his assassination on April 4, 1968 and eventually demolished. The site was a vacant lot until the construction in 2011 of Dr. King Legacy Apartments designed by the architecture firm Johnson + Lee. the $18 million, 45-apartment complex also features commercial spaces along its 16th Street frontage, including the new home of the Fair Housing Exhibit Center.
Painted mural of the image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his tenement apartment in Chicago’s North Lawndale by nationally-renowned Afro-Indian muralist, Paul Collins. It is the centerpiece of the Fair Housing Exhibit Center.

SOURCES: Martin Luther King, Jr. with profiles of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, Lori Meek Schuldt, World Book, Inc., 2007; American Pharaoh, Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation, Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor, Little, Brown and Company, 2000; At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68, Taylor Branch, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2006; Civil Rights Digital Library – http://crdl.usg.edu/events/watts_riots/?Welcome. On Tina Allen – http://chicagopublicart.blogspot.com/2013/09/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-bust.html. On the CCCO- – http://www.oxfordaasc.com/public/features/archive/0110/photo_essay.jsp?page=3. On Hamlin trusteeship  -http://www.oxfordaasc.com/public/features/archive/0110/photo_essay.jsp?page=6.

The next chapter of the campaign: