Events for front page
Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference visited Chicago and suggested that SCLC might come to Chicago to support the local movement led by the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations. The CCCO staged regular protests against the policies of the Superintendent of Schools Benjamin Willis.
The Chicago Freedom Movement continued its organizing efforts throughout the city. The Chicago chapter of Operation Breadbasket staged its first selective buying campaign and after a week of boycotting Country’s Delight Dairy announced that it would hire over forty African-American workers. Disaffected parents also forced the removal of an unpopular principal through a boycott at the Jenner School.
Martin Luther King delivers his famous anti-war speech at the Riverside Church in New York City in early April. He and his advisers want to extend SCLC's work to other cities even as they speak out against the Vietnam War.
King and Raby charge that Chicago police are lax in protecting the marchers.
Civil Rights leaders suspend the Bogan and Cicero marches; Cody calls for an end to the marches; 240 march on office of CREB at 105 W. Madison; Robert Johnston of UAW supposedly contacts Raby at Daley's request, asking him to suspend marches; Johnston then has Walter Reuther call King in Mississippi.
Daley meets with 17 labor leaders; call for an end to the marches; announcement of city's comprehensive urban renewal plans.
Vice President Hubert Humphrey agrees with Archbishop Cody in TV interview and calls for an end to the marches; 700 march through jeering whites at Bogan High area; demonstration generally orderly.
Civil Rights leaders set simultaneous marches in Bogan area, Jefferson Park, and Gage Park-Chicago Lawn; CFM files 74 complaints of alleged bias by real estate brokers
1000 march in three simultaneous marches in Bogan, Jefferson Park and Gage Park; Roman Pucinski in Congress calls for a limit to the number of marchers; violence at American Nazi Party Rally in Marquette Park.
Chicago Conference on Religion and Race to arrange Summit meeting.
7 1/2 hour Summit meeting between civil rights leaders, real estate representatives, and Chicago's business, political, and religious elite takes place.
First after dark march occurs in Jefferson Park; during day 5 demonstrations at Loop real estate offices; Religious leaders including Bishop Montgomery meet to decide Wednesday's summit meeting agenda; Chicago Police chief O.W. Wilson reports that crime is up 25% over last year.
Martin Luther King announces testing of 100 real estate agencies in all-white neighborhoods; King and 12 other CFM leaders meet in afternoon to assess results of Wednesday's summit meeting; 700 demonstrate in Southwest side anti-march rally.
City of Chicago gains an injunction limiting number of demonstration and demonstrators; Mayor Richard Daley addresses Chicagoans on television late Friday night; first meeting of Summit subcommittee at Cathedral of St. James; Martin Luther King and Daley not present.
Chicago civil rights activists continued daily marches in protest of racial inequality in the city of Chicago. In early August, a group of activists, led by Dick Gregory, protested outside of Mayor Richard Daley’s house in Bridgeport. Local whites bombarded the protesters with eggs, stones, and tomatoes.
This month represented the high point of the Chicago Freedom Movement with regular open-housing marches that captured the attention of all Chicagoans and the national media. The month concluded with the Summit negotiations and the Summit Agreement.
250 march in Belmont-Cragin; police use nightsticks to protect marchers from jeering whites; Archbishop Cody urges Irish at Ancient Order of Hibernians to aid the poor in the city; Mayor Richard Daley meets with leaders from Gage Park and Chicago Lawn communities.
Civil rights strategists meet to determine CFM's next move.
Martin Luther King leads rain-soaked marchers into South Deering neighborhood; marches also held in Chicago Heights and Evergreen Park.
Sheriff Richard Ogilvie telegrams Martin Luther King asking him to cancel proposed march in Cicero; In a press conference Mayor Richard Daley blasts agitators; A. Philip Randolph, the long-time civil rights activist, comments that at times a moratorium on marches is not a bad thing.
Demonstrators march through South Deering (scene of 1953 riot); 10 arrested; Cicero officials meet with Governor Otto Kerner; In evening rally Martin Luther King urges young people to join Cicero march.
Governor Otto Kerner announces that National Guard will aid Cicero; March held in West Elsdon area of Chicago with 85 demonstrators.
Last meeting of the Summit subcommittee; Cicero officials issue a parade permit to CFM for 3000 demonstrators.
Summit agreement is reached; Despite general praise, Chester Robinson and Robert Lucas criticize the agreement.
Chicago Housing Authority to begin posting guards at its buildings in response to demands.
Martin Luther King meets with political leaders of black community, including aldermen at Washington Park YMCA and then leads big rally at New Friendship Baptist Church; Catholic weekly New World denounces "Catholic Know Nothings" who injured Sister Mary Angelica in march; Frank Ditto, chairperson of Oakland Community for Community Improvement, arrested during march on Daley's Bridgeport house.
Martin Luther King struck by a rock in Gage Park-Marquette Park march; 960 police protect 600 marchers; 28 injured, crowd numbered over 4000.
Martin Luther King leaves for Atlanta; efforts in Bogan High area to allay hostility made by community leaders.
James Bevel leads march in Belmont-Cragin, over 3000 whites there, along with the National States Rights Party and American Nazi Party; Al Raby and Jesse Jackson praise police protection; at some point this weekend Mayor Richard Daley calls Governor Otto Kerner to discuss the disturbances and possible use of National Guard.
Jesse Jackson announces marches set for Bogan Park and Cicero at CFM rally; Homeowners from the Chicago Lawn-Marquette Park area urge Mayor Richard Daley to appeal to Attorney General Katzenbach to investigate communist elements in civil rights demonstration; Daley urges members of the Cook County Democratic Organization to help keep peace.
In first press conference in more than a week, Mayor Richard Daley urges marchers to reconsider; calls for conferences; O. W. Wilson asks for more police notice before marches; ACLU Chicago Chapter sues to enjoin Housing Authority from building public housing projects in black areas.
The groundwork for the kickoff of the Chicago Freedom Movement in January 1966 continued to be laid even as anxieties about the prospects for the campaign heightened.
Martin Luther King, Jr. announced that Hosea Williams and fifteen civil rights workers would lead a voter registration drive in Chicago. In the meantime, the unions to end slums on the West Side continued to develop.
SCLC, CCCO, and the West Side Federation seized a run-down apartment building at 1321 South Homan in Lawndale to dramatize the plight of the inner-city poor. The “trusteeship” received national attention. When asked about the legality of the takeover, Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “I won’t say that this is illegal, but I would call it supralegal. The moral question is far more important than the legal one.”
At the same time, Chicago’s chapter of Operation Breadbasket, directed by Jesse Jackson, began to focus on the employment practices of local bread, milk, soft drink, and soup companies.
The Lawndale Union to End Slums and the East Garfield Park Union to End Slums continued to pursue landlord-tenant collective bargaining agreements.
In early January, the SCLC-CCCO alliance was formalized; the combined civil rights project would be called the Chicago Freedom Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Al Raby were appointed co-chairmen. In late January, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King generated national headlines by renting for their family a shabby apartment on 1550 South Hamlin Avenue in North Lawndale, right in the heart of the West Side.
Hosea Williams led a team of SCLC organizers on a voter registration project.
Sweltering day; at least 35,000 attend Freedom Rally at Soldiers Field; followed by march on city hall, where King places the movement's demands.
3 hour conference between Daley and King; neither happy about the results; 1000 attend meeting at Shiloh Baptist Church - Gage Park designated as first target of the CFM.
West Side disorders begin late Tuesday.
Chicago Conference on Race and Religion begins Tri-Faith Jobs Project; Gov. Otto Kerner signs executive order curtailing housing segregation; Rioting on Westside continues.
1400 police assigned to contain West Side disorders.
National Guard called out; rioting continues; 2 blacks killed; King-Daley meeting about the riots; program to end the disorders announced.
King has 5 hour meeting with gang leaders; Hearing at City Hall on Puerto Rican problems. An integrated group of activists picnicked in Marquette Park.
City buys 10 portable swimming pools for West Side and sprinklers placed on fire hydrants; Two hundred demonstrators stroll through Gage Park community and hold a prayer vigil outside of St. Gall's Catholic Church.
Mayor Richard Daley outlines crash program of sprinklers and pools; Suit filed by two Springfield realtors regarding Governor Otto Kerner's open housing executive order; Billy Graham calls upon President Lyndon Johnson to do something about extremists in cities.
National Guard patrols end, though the Guard remains; Governor Otto Kerner blames Republican party riots because it failed to support his social programs.
After staging daily marches in protest of segregative school policies, the CCCO invited Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for a three-day tour of conditions in the city of Chicago. After leading a march of thousands through Chicago’s downtown, King said: “We march here today because we believe that Chicago, her citizens, and her social structure are in dire need of redemption and reform.”
The Chicago Freedom Movements prepared for the big rally in Soldier Field on July 10 and the groundwork was laid for the open-housing campaign.
Martin Luther King issues statement defending the Chicago Freedom Movement from charges of instigating West Side disruptions and connects them with poor ghetto conditions; Chicago Police Chief O.W. Wilson negotiates a peace pact between the Woodlawn Disciples and the Blackstone Rangers. Activists continue to test realtors for discriminatory treatment.
Circuit Judge H. White issues temporary injunction barring state from applying Gov. Otto Kerner's open occupancy order to 2 Springfield real estate agents; President Lyndon Baines Johnson gives Indianapolis speech condemning riots.
Civil rights activists hold Southwest Side prayer vigil in Gage Park area at St. Gall's Catholic church. "Young toughs" jeer the activists.
Mayor Richard Daley names 23 persons to police-public liaison group; Kenwood Oakland Community Organization members walk out of discussion of Kenwood-Oakland Area Housing; members of the KOCO walk out.
Senator Barry Goldwater contends that President Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King are to blame for recent civil disorders in urban areas.
Stokely Carmichael speaks at Orrington Hotel, Evanston and extolls the virtues of Black Power; meanwhile Martin Luther King announces plans for an all-night vigil on the Southwest Side; Fifty members of Women Mobilized for Change meet with Mayor Daley at City Hall to discuss the state of the city.
50 injured, 18 cars set on tire as white crowd hurls bricks and bottles at 550 black and white demonstrators in Marquette Park and Chicago Lawn.
Chicago city government report issued - detailing city's determination to end slums.
Over 100,000 black students stayed out school in protest of the reappointment of Superintendent of Schools Benjamin Willis, who had become known as an architect of segregation in public schools. For the rest of the month, Al Raby and the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations staged daily marches through Chicago’s downtown protesting school policy.
The shooting of James Meredith in Mississippi and the subsequent March against Fear in early June captured the attention of Martin Luther King, Jr., and many Chicago Freedom Movement activists. King and SCLC focused their energies on the Mississippi march, which ultimately popularized the phrase “Black Power.” The Chicago Freedom Movement leadership postponed their kick-off rally until July 10th. Meanwhile, Bill Moyer of the American Friends Service Committee helped coordinate protests against discriminatory realtors in Oak Park.
In early March, ministers picketed City Hall to highlight the “sin of segregation” in Chicago schools. Despite protests against the segregative policies of Superintendent of School Benjamin Willis since 1961 and two major school boycotts in October 1963 and February 1964, Chicago civil rights forces had not been able to bring about substantive social change.
The Chicago Freedom Movement’s organizing effort on the West Side focused on the rundown apartment buildings managed by Condor and Costalis as examples of the exploitation of inner-city residents. More than ten thousand persons attended a Freedom Festival at the International Amphitheater which featured a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and performances by Harry Belafonte, Mahalia Jackson, and Dick Gregory. King called for a “grand alliance of the forces of good will with the underprivileged to end the dark days of powerless existence.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., returned to Chicago in late March and warned of further demonstrations if city officials did not do more to fulfill the pledges of the Summit Agreement.
The Chicago Board of Education angered civil rights forces by renewing the contract of Superintendent of Schools Benjamin Willis, a center of controversy because of policies that sustained and extended public school segregation.
Martin Luther King, Jr., met with a hundred gang members to support the on-going efforts by James Bevel and the Chicago Freedom Movement to convince Chicago’s gangs of the merits of nonviolence. Meanwhile, plans were laid for a massive civil rights rally in Soldier Field and then a march on City Hall in June.
In late May 1967, Martin Luther King returned to Chicago as the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities unveiled "Project: Good Neighbor." King said that "If this progress continues, I see no need for further demonstrations." At that point, he essentially declared that the Chicago Freedom Movement had come to an end.
The efforts to forge a working alliance between SCLC and CCCO continued as did the organizing work on the West Side of Chicago. "End slums" became the rallying cry for the West Side activists. The scope of the task was daunting, and some activists began to question the extent of progress since the announcement of the Chicago project in September.
In late November, Edward Holmgren was appointed the executive director of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, the new organization created by the Summit Agreement to advance the cause of equal opportunity in housing.
Under the direction of James Bevel, the growing staff of the Chicago Freedom Movement sought to diagnose the causes of the oppressive conditions inner-city residents faced in a series of grassroots seminars on the city's West Side. Martin Luther King, Jr., presided at a major retreat at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He said that "If we can break the system in Chicago, it can be broken any place in the coutnry."
The Chicago Freedom Movement sought to find a new focus with the conclusion of the open-housing marches. This goal proved elusive. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders were concerned that the local government officials and agencies were not actively working on the mandates of the Summit Agreement.
On Sunday, September 4th, Robert Lucas of Chicago CORE led 200 demonstrators through Cicero. Originally, the Chicago Freedom Movement had issued a call for the march on Cicero, but it retracted it with the Summit Agreement. Lucas and other activists were dissatisfied with the terms of that agreement and wanted to show that they did not fear the potential white reaction in Cicero. The Chicago Freedom Movement, in the meantime, focused on urban renewal in the Englewood area.