Posts Tagged ‘#history’

Nov 02

WBEZ Are You Listening?

By Iván Arenas — Undoubtedly, society has changed dramatically since the days when a crowd of parents brought their all-white infants to be weighed and measured by doctors during the Illinois State Fair’s “better baby contest” in 1931. Eugenics laws and popular beliefs at that time held to the notion that mental, behavioral, and other human aptitudes were tied […]

Image by Alana Varg

Introducing… the Chicago Radical Coloring Book

By Debbie Southorn — In June 2013, Chicago Childcare Collective (ChiChiCo) volunteers were asked to participate in a Housing Justice Bus Tour of Chicago, being organized by Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction (our partner org!), the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and Centro Autónomo. We were asked to provide activities for kids at each stop of the bus ride, and […]

“C is for Civil Rights” Children’s Social Justice Book Club

By Kristen Atkinson, Mariame Kaba, Jake Klippenstein, Eva Nagao & Mary Scott-Boria — Introduction In late 2012, Mariame Kaba, one of the cofounders of the Chicago Freedom School (CFS) and a board member of the organization, wrote to her Facebook friends asking if they would be interested in organizing a social justice book club for children. She’d been considering the idea since the inception of CFS six years […]

Jan 08

Public Memories of Haymarket in Chicago

By Nicolas Lampert — The Haymarket riot in Chicago emerged out of the struggle for the eight-hour workday. On May 1, 1886 a May Day celebration drew over 80,000 protestors in a peaceful demonstration up Michigan Avenue where it was becoming evident that factories would have to honor the workers’ demands. Days later, on May third, violence erupted when […]


By Laurie Palmer — The Northwest Incinerator at 700 N. Kildare between Chicago Ave. and Lake St. was constructed with great fanfare in 1971 as a state-of-the-art, waste-to-energy garbage burner. It promised to reduce the city’s volume of trash headed for landfills by 90%, to be safe and pollution-free, and to produce energy at the same time. It burned […]

The (Original) Rainbow Coalition

By James Tracy — Bobby Lee moved to Chicago in the late 1960s as a VISTA volunteer, and joined the Black Panther Party. He was instrumental in bringing together the first Rainbow Coalition—a teaming of the Puerto Rican Young Lords and the white Young Patriots Organization. This is a short excerpt of a longer interview with Lee, for an […]

Covering the Landscape: Justice, Change, and Philanthropy in Chicago

By Jeanne Kracher — Since the 1960s and 70s, I think there has been a change in community consciousness, including in the communities that have been most affected in terms of who goes into prison. “Law and order” became the mantra. Even criminalized communities bought into law and order policies. There are realities about how crime changed in communities. […]

Mark and Michael

By Mark Shipley — Mark Shipley, 27, and Michael Thompson, 60, met in Chicago in 2003, and both participate in the Chicago Honey Co-op. Begun by Michael Thompson and others, the co-op raises honey bees and other food plants and crops on the west side of Chicago. After hearing about the AREA issue theme, Michael and Mark decided to […]

JB Monorail

By Theaster Gates — There are moments when I think that my life on the Westside of Chicago had no real relationship to the history of political struggle. I had not yet been born, the trophies of that era that hung around my house in the form of handmade protest signs, banners and buttons, not to mention Afro wigs, […]

Bob Crawford and Margo Natalie Crawford

By Bob Crawford — Excerpts from an intergenerational dialogue held at the South Side Community Art Center on October 23, 2008 between father and daughter Robert (Bob) Crawford and Margo Natalie Crawford. Photographer Bob Crawford defies the boundaries between documentary-style photography and art photography. As a photographer of the Black Arts and Black Power Movements in the 1960s and […]

A Meadow In Lincoln Park

By Peter Zelchenko — I am pacing. I’m spending the night of August 21, 2008, pacing the floor of a 10’ x 8’4” x 10’ cell in the downtown police lockup at 1718 S. State. I’ve spent some time mentally calculating this, based on the size of a cinder block, eight by sixteen inches including mortar lines. I will […]

Between Lefts

By Eric Triantafillou — In this issue of AREA, devoted to a retrospective of the 1960s and its traces in our DNA, I thought it might be helpful to get a sense of the political climate before the 1960s. The politics we on the Left inherit, though heavily influenced by the 1960s, didn’t miraculously begin in that decade, but […]

Altered by Ebony

By AREA Staff — In 1968, a well-dressed African American gentleman appeared at my Irish Catholic grandmother’s front door requesting that my grandmother subscribe to his magazine.  My grandmother, impressed by this gentleman’s kind manner and sincere work ethic, invited him in and offered him lemonade.  They had a nice visit, during the course of which she subscribed to […]

Intergenerational Dynamics

By Chris Brancaccio — Growing up, all of the older women I knew (mainly my two grandmothers and the grandmothers of my friends) were anything but activists.  Then there is Judy.  I had to interview Judy for a class assignment; I wanted to know about 1968 from the perspective of someone who hadn’t been a youth, wasn’t in the […]

Notes on Generation Monkey

By AREA Staff — When I ask my mother what she remembers of the MLK assassination, she talks about expecting me to be born any day.  The strands that tie the slaying of the leading figure in the struggle for civil rights and Black liberation to the near-concurrent birth of a second child to quiet immigrant parents in an […]

Section Introduction

By Rebecca Zorach — “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.”—Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962 “And the lonely voice of youth cries ‘What is truth?’”—Johnny Cash One of the more astonishing things about the opening line of […]

1968: Art and Politics in Chicago

By Euan Hague — On the wall outside the DePaul University Art Museum a photograph shows six soldiers walking, and a vehicle carrying many more, silhouetted against an eerie orange background. The image, by Art Shay, is of Grant Park in 1968. The ghostly mist enshrouding the anonymous soldiers is tear gas. Shay’s photograph is uncannily similar to Robert […]

Young Lords 40th Anniversary

By frank-edwards — This is a report back from the 40 Years of Struggle event held on Sept 21, 2008 at the San Lucas UCC in Humboldt Park. The event was intended to be a look back at the legacy and work of the Young Lords, as well as a reunion of former Black Panther, Young Lords and […]

Looks Like Freedom

By Rebecca Zorach — Our organizing group sat discussing the fine points of exhibition planning in a lounge area with a large picture window. Suddenly there was an arc of wingbeats, a series of small parabolic collisions: a sparrow was trapped in the room, trying, over and over again, to escape through plate glass that looked like freedom. Working […]

Other Organizations Commemorating 1968

By AREA — Interview with other Chicago organizations having ‘68 anniversaries This year was the 40th Anniversary of the tumultuous year of 1968. You decided to mark that year with an exhition at DePaul University. Why?“Anniversaries are often artificial markers of elapsed time, but in this case there seemed to be many reasons to revisit the history of […]

Mapping 1968 Through The Lens Of 2008

By Dave Pabellon — Text and Photos by Monica Barra for AREA ChicagoMap Design by Dave Pabellon Based on Sam Barnett’s 1968 Oral History Project My family and I were sitting at home watching the news. You know, at that time Vietnam was the topic because every time you turned on the TV you see something happening overseas concerning […]


By Nicole Garneau — UPRISING is a series of monthly public performances exploring ideas and practices of revolution. All of the UPRISINGs are performed by a crew of volunteers who may or may not be performers, who show up wearing white clothes and learn the performance an hour before it starts. UPRISING references the fact that 2008 is 40 […]

Letter to the Re-Enactors

By Paige Sarlin — What would it mean to re-enact the organizing? I’ve been thinking a lot about the practice of re-enactment. A practice takes material (in this case historical material) and transforms it, producing something with or from it. The practice of re-enactment has the potential to produce new forms of knowledge, more than just unearthing information about […]

If it’s not love, Then it’s the OM that will bring us together

By Bert Stabler — In The Political Unconscious, Fredric Jameson uses Freudian concepts such as repression and projection to explore literary texts as attempts to deal with capitalism’s contradictions. Casting fantasy as the “vehicle for our experience of the real,” Jameson addresses some simplistic excesses of other Marxist scholars who have unduly disparaged the importance of culture. He suggests […]

17 actions for 1968/13 actions for 2008

By Lucky Pierre — 17 Actions for 1968 The following actions are to be performed in the year 1968. If you do not live in or cannot get to 1968, they may be performed in another year. Please account for any temporal gaps or regret.  ACTION: Voice Piece for 1968 (after Emmett Williams). Step into Chicago. Proceed to the […]


By BLW — In 2004, BLW attended PILOT TV: Experimental Video for Feminist Trespass, an event that opened felicitously with artist/curator Dara Greenwald’s presentation of some archival activist videos that were not readily available at the time[1]. Troubled by our captivation with these documents, we tried re-enacting them with a small group of Pilot co-participants. We found this […]

Rick Rick Perlstein on Richard Nixon and the Politics of Division

By Aaron Sarver — Interviewed by Aaron Sarver In 2001, Rick Perlstein released his debut book, Before The Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. Praised by both the left and right the book announced Perlstein as a credible historian of the Conservative movement. A self-described New Deal Democrat, his second book, Nixonland: The Rise of […]