John McDermott

scott @ Thu, 2007-07-12 10:08

John McDermott was the executive director of the Catholic Interracial Council in Chicago, a veteran member of the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO), and a member of the Agenda Committee of the Chicago Freedom Movement.
Here he comments on the national dimension of the Chicago Freedom Movement:

“We were thinking in national terms . . . front-line kind of experience. I was a front-line commander. You went to meetings day and night. You were exhausted. You had some people get arrested. . . . And you didn’t really have a lot of time or energy to think globally. But the basic strategy was this: we were in a northern city which had lots of laws against discrimination, where the problem was not the same as in the South. This was the watershed through which King had gone, through places of overt discrimination, de jure segregation and discrimination to a city of de facto segregation and discrimination. How do you deal with de facto discrimination and segregation? That is what we were confronting. And how to develop a national policy on that was very unclear at that time.”

John McDermott interview with Jim Ralph, July 15, 1988