This is a lecture by Dr. Timuel Black that I recorded in Chicago on my iPhone on Feb. 9, 2019. He was 101 years old. Dr. Black was a Chicago civic leader, organizer, and scholar who shared his wisdom publicly until the end of his life. In this lecture, he illuminates life in the shadowsContinue reading “Dr. Tim Black – Chicago Oral History Recording”
In her book Caste, Isabel Wilkerson describes this structure as a matrix or – artificial intelligence – a pre-programmed code that’s always at work in the background advantaging White people and steering resources away from Blacks. She describes this invisible mainframe as “a puppet master unseen by those whose subconscious it directs, its instructions an intravenous drip to the mind, caste in the guise of normalcy, injustice looking just, atrocities looking unavoidable to keep the machinery humming, the matrix…a facsimile for life itself.
Although Whites homeowners in the North used numerous organized methods to block the so-called assault by Blacks on their communities; organized resistance and violence were especially favored tactics. Between 1917 and 1921, there were 58 firebombing incidents. Many occurred during the summer of 1919 and several more continued for the next several decades in places like,Continue reading “Making the Ghetto Part 2 – Fear of “a colored man of means”: Strategies to Defend Housing Segregation in the North”
In far too many cases, zoning is being used to protect the narrow self-interest of a particular community without regard to the health, safety, and welfare of the community and the nation as a whole. 1971 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights excerpt (Keeanga-Yahmahtta Taylor, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry UnderminedContinue reading “Making the Ghetto Part 1 – Ghetto Code: Racial Zoning and Spatial Isolation in American Cities”
The following are stories I compiled of three young Black men in a violence intervention program called Peacemakers. I spent the summer of 2014 working with them at St. Sabina Church on Chicago’s South Side. Some of these young men were former gang members who turned their lives around to become positive role models and disrupt the trauma that they were once a part of.
“Some of the ‘educated’ Negroes do not pay attention to such important matters as the assessment of property and the collection of taxes, and they do not inform themselves as to how these things are worked out.” – Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro “…reorganizing the tax systems in the counties…that kind ofContinue reading “Hidden in Plain Sight – The Cook County property tax system and racial equity”
At 100 years old, Dr. Black has seen a lot. Having come from Birmingham, Alabama with his family when he was less than a year old, he has witnessed firsthand a century of Chicago history. Dr. Black’s sacred ground cultivated many great Americans like Nat King Cole (a classmate of his), Harold Washington (who he organized massive voter turn-out for), Carol Moseley Braun (who he helped get elected), Carter G. Woodson (who he witnessed create the origins of Black History Month), and Lorraine Hansberry (whose family solicited him for grocery runs).
Robbins’ origin story is one of a small village with a big history. It’s the oldest primarily African-American suburb in the Chicago region and one of only a few in the nation. Having recently celebrated its centennial, the village reflects the pioneering spirit of its early settlers who incorporated it in 1917 to be anContinue reading “Robbins, Illinois – A Story of Environmental Injustice and Resilience”
The following was written after participating in the US-Mexico Leaders Initiative with the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Mexico City. Much has been written about subnational and local diplomacy as a foreign policy strategy and antidote to populist xenophobic rhetoric. Urbanists and mayors from Bruce Katz to Mike Bloomberg have sounded the clarion trumpetContinue reading “Vilified Sister Cities: Chicago, Mexico City and The Case for Citizen Diplomacy”
During my recent Marshall Memorial Fellowship with The German Marshall Fund of the United States, I had the opportunity to learn how European cities solve similar challenges we face in Chicago in the context of the transatlantic relationship and our shared national interests. The German Marshall Fund was founded in 1972 as a non-partisan, non-profitContinue reading “How European cities address racial equity, statues, and the politics of choosing to not forget - a memoir”
I recently read Natalie Moore’s The South Side and found some striking similarities in our upbringing and experiences. I grew up in Chicago in between St. Leo High School and St. Sabina in Auburn-Gresham: a virtually all-black neighborhood on the South side of Chicago – about three miles west of where Natalie Moore lived in Chatham. We actuallyContinue reading “My “South Side”: Reflections on Natalie Moore’s memoir and the nearby neighborhood I grew up in.”