Black Journal; 315; Black Chicago
The following program is from WNET in 13. Thank you. Black Journal is an handy air magazine, reporting on the personalities, ideas and issues that affect black America.
It attempts to achieve balance by reporting from a black perspective. Black Journal's fifth season is highlighted in this new black journal magazine, featuring such articles as a rep with Melvin Van Peebles, the phenomenal growth of friends of black journal chapters, and a black paper on white racism. For your free souvenir copy, send your name and address and 50 cents in postage stamps. Do not send cash or checks. To black journal, department M, Ten Columbus Circle, New York. Black Journal, Ten Columbus Circle, New York. One has an enormous impact upon the life of black people. The board of education is appointed by the mayor and the mayor runs it. Chicago is fortunate in that when compared with other major cities,
it has provided more opportunity for blacks than perhaps any other major city in the country. Although a black explorer, John Baptiste du Sablé was Chicago's first settler in 1765. It wasn't until the early 1900s that a sizable black population was established in Chicago. It was composed of southern migrants who had been lured north by the promise of jobs at good wages, but who found out upon arrival that the only way to make a living in this industrial city was as a maid, janitor or boot black. Now, in the last part of the 20th century, Chicago blacks want a bigger piece of the pie. By 1975, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that 50 percent of the population will be black. The famous Democratic machine of Cook County is just beginning to feel the political stirrings of the dissatisfied, but some observers feel that it will take more than a change in politics to bring economic and political viability to Chicago's blacks. This is Chicago, the Windy City,
Jim of the Midwest and probably the most racially segregated of the major cities in the United States. In 1833 when the town was incorporated as a village, there were only 200 inhabitants. Today, there are three and one-half million Chicagoans and 150,000 businesses in the metropolitan area, but this too is Chicago, and it has a different story to tell. This is where most of the city's one million blacks live. Their homes are far cry from the fancy steel and glass high-rise structures that are becoming the new promised land for the whites and the wealthy. How does local government affect housing for black people in Chicago? I couldn't talk about local government without talking about the federal government in that federal programs, umbrella, whatever the local programs are. I mean, I'm speaking specifically of HUD and its subsidiary FHA. Has urban renewal been a positive or negative aspect?
In my opinion, it's been a negative aspect in that so many blacks were displaced, and of course, in turn, created high density and more congested conditions in the areas that surrounded the urban renewal programs. There are many urban renewal programs that were started, say, 10 years ago, where the land is still vacant, and people are still unhoused. HUD is saying that you can't have a house in the city, and white folks ain't going to have you in a suburb, so it seems to me that blacks have to become moon folk in order to do anything, and this is what we're going to have to work with, this is what we're going to have to deal with. I think it ought to be said, however, that urban renewal contrary to popular belief is not simply a housing program. It is a process for renewing communities and providing not only added housing, but other amenities, so that it may well be true that urban renewal has destroyed more housing than it has built,
but I think that the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the urban renewal program has got to be dealt with in terms of the overall effect it's had on the community. I think that in five years Chicago will be regarded by black people all over the country as one of the best big cities in the country to live in. The great white father has plans for recapturing Chicago. This year, we have some three and a half billion dollars worth of housing under construction. I was speaking of commercial industrial office buildings, hotels. In the circle, Chicago downtown and its periphery. Nobody can tell me that the man has any ideas about a bedding in Chicago, but he has some ideas about getting you out. I see the site selection criteria as a plan to not move black people to the suburbs, but move them to exurbia, you see.
That's beyond. As in other black communities in major cities, the drug problem in Chicago is a constant source of concern for its citizen. You just drug problem. Okay, drug problem. Everybody is out to, you know, to get you things like that. Drugs are available for anybody who wants it. Good smell, hot. You can see people dropping off sacks of heroin and stuff and people have been killed in the building. What would you say is a percentage of black people that are drug addicts versus the total population in Chicago? There is no answer that you could say is this figure is that figure. They identify maybe 18,000 addicts in Illinois. If we look at a percentage wise, we say comfortably between 60 and 70% of that number would be black people. A larger number of black veterans and black people period are showing up for treatment. And that is part of the fact.
The population, the total added population has never been identified, but we say 6% of those people in treatment and even higher are black people. Because it's an urban problem and it's a ghetto problem. It's a inner city's problem and it's a black folks' problem. The Kumba workshop dramatizes one aspect of the drug syndrome, a mother mourns for her son who has returned from Vietnam, a drug addict. The Kumba workshop dramatizes one aspect of the drug syndrome. The Kumba workshop dramatizes one aspect of the drug syndrome. She helplessly watches as he steals from her to pay the pusher for his last fix. The Kumba workshop dramatizes one aspect of the drug syndrome.
The Kumba workshop dramatizes one aspect of the drug syndrome. The Kumba workshop dramatizes one aspect of the drug syndrome. The Kumba workshop dramatizes one aspect of the drug syndrome. Providence Hospital, a black institution, has been serving its community for 82 years.
It is one of the city's largest employers of blacks. Providence Hospital was founded in 1891 by Dr. Daniel Hill Williams of black physician, who felt a need for a black facility in the city of Chicago. Black physicians or nurses could not go for a post-training, and the concept of Providence was to be a training ground for black professionals. The county hospital in Chicago at that time was not taking on black interns or black nurses. I think Providence politically, historically, has been considered a black institution in Chicago. We have on our drawing boards currently a $50 million expansion plan.
There's a need for our provident. We document it the need for the facility. The power is to be recognized the need. And realistically, many of the white institutions don't want to carry the patient a little bit. We are carrying. Traditionally, Chicago has been the home for the black press. It was in this city that one of the nation's oldest black publications. The Chicago defender was founded in 1905. Today, the defender is published daily and reaches approximately 200,000 people. Chicago is also the home of one of the major black organizations in the country, the nation of Islam. And it is here that their newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, is published. It claims the largest circulation of any black newspaper in the country, and influences thought disproportionate to its size among ghetto blacks. Today's multi-million dollar business known as Johnson Publishing Company was started 30 years ago on a $500 loan. In addition to publishing Ebony, Jet 10, Black World and Black Star, the company has also recently acquired Radio Station WGRT. The Chicago Daily News is one of the four metropolitan daily newspapers.
Lou Palmer, a reporter and columnist for the Daily News, talks about the problem of blacks and journalists. Black communications in this city is a bad way. Both quantitative and qualitative. The problem is that with the exception of the black press, the communications media in Chicago are elsewhere totally white owned and white controlled. And that, oh, 45 percent black people in this town and 2 percent of the report of the black. But when you combine the total circulation of the black press, it doesn't even begin to touch the circulation of one of the metropolitan day of this. So far as I'm concerned, the quality of reporting by the black reporters is excellent. The problem is, you know, what happens to the reporting after it's done. Because after the reporter turns in his copy, it goes to a series of editors and copy readers and white at all of them away. Consequently, the nuances and the impressions that black reporters really want to get across very often structure out of the store.
I think the number one issue is the American system's effort to maintain control over black people's minds. And living in Chicago, we really catch it. The one beautiful example of what may be an awakening among black people is that we just recently kicked the state's turny hand-in-hand out of office. And black people kicked them out of office. Black people got paid up and they learned how to spit that ticket and they voted him out of office. Other than that, you know, we've been tied to the Democratic machine. I really do not see that blacks will make any serious inroads into control of the media. Black people have got to establish some alternative forms of communications. We can't deal with this traditional established communication system.
No, I don't... I see little improvement in the future. According to one of the three black members on Chicago's Board of Education, it took a court case in 1964 to make the board recognize that there was a problem of segregation in the Chicago public school system. At the time, a neighborhood school policy left black children to attend the inferior segregated schools, which dominated their communities. Today, nearly ten years later, 85% of all black children in Chicago still attend schools, which are predominantly, if not all black. In fact, 60% of Chicago public school students are black. In the fiscal year of 1973, there is a possibility that the schools will be forced to close early because of a budget deficit of over $60 million. In general, the future of the public schools in Chicago looks bleak, which has prompted some blacks to seek alternatives to the system. Barbara Seismore is the former director of the federally funded Woodlawn Experimental Schools Project.
A program which made an effort to involve the community but was not refunded. The main purpose was to restructure the social system through a mutuality of efforts so that community, parents, teachers, administrators, and students would be called cats. Could work together in a decision-making board, called the Woodlawn Community Board. The conflict was expected because parents and students and community had never sat on the policy-making board before, and their demands and expectations of public school education was decidedly different than those held by teachers and administrators. The conflict was anticipated, but during the time of the project, as the students became more sophisticated and gained seats on the board, they began to participate more in this decision-making. The surprise element in the project was that the teachers decided that the community should evaluate them.
So when the teachers said we want the community and the students to evaluate us, what they were really doing was saying to the community, we'll give you this power. The Board of Education ruled said that the principal wants to evaluate the teacher, but the Woodlawn Community Board had ordered her to do otherwise, and she did not do so. The Woodlawn organization sided with the system against the teachers and the students and said that they would support this principal. I stood with the teachers and the students on this issue because I felt that it was critical to community power. And so now I am in the Board of Education, and I don't suspect that I will ever be placed in an administrative position in the field at that level. Again, would you say you're on the board? Our precise more believes she is being punished because of her involvement with the community.
The Board of Education is appointed by the mayor and the mayor runs it. The mayor daily has been the mayor for since I believe 1954 or 55, and he runs a pretty tight ship. That includes the educational program as well. Even though theoretically the Board of Education is independent of the city administration, not very many things of any great importance are done in the city without the approval or tacitly or otherwise of the city administration. The program is going down while salaries and costs are growing up, and unfortunately we have perhaps one of the lowest reading scores and arithmetic scores of any big city around the country. The 1971 Citywide Testing scores for eight graders showed a 6.7 million score in reading as compared to the national average of 8.1. In arithmetic, Chicago Children's score of 6.9 compared to the national score of 8.4.
At the same time, we have one of the highest starting salary rates for teachers. Is the Board an impetus to change? Yes, it can be. If there are six members who are like nine, they can direct the superintendent to do what the Board once done or get a new superintendent. It's just as simple as that. At one time, we were on the verge of having six members who sort of thought the same, but at the last minute, the sixth member who was up for reappointment was summarily dropped by the Mayor's Nominating Commission, and this member was not reappointed to the Board. So as a result, the forces for status quo, as I like to call it, have six members and the forces for change usually have five members or less. Until we have members on the Board who are willing to innovate, they were willing to go right down the line and effecting changes that are good, particularly for black children and other minority children.
I don't think we're going to get it in Chicago until the situation becomes so bad there is a crisis of just tremendous proportions. We saw that the public school system in this city was grossly deficient and inefficient in terms of educating our children. For instance, average high school student coming out cannot read at a six or seven grade level. So therefore in order to change that direction, we decided that we need to teach our own. I think an example is, for instance, in New York City, the Jews and our Senate children in the black community be told anything. And New Jersey, the Italians and our Senate children in the black community be taught nothing. And Chicago, the Irish don't even want their children to sit in with our black children. But yet until we expect to send our children out every place else, for anybody else to teach, and for them to come back and be black and be responsible for responsible for our needs. That's a contradiction.
The programs which we push, which are the history of the black man, we talk about basic academic skills in terms of reading, writing, and math concepts. We talk about Swahili, geography, or African black nations. We talk about nutrition and body functions. Nutrition and body functions, and also we teach self-reliance, crafts, and African song and dance. We have something like 150 people, students are not waiting this night. So as we enlarge, we enlarge our program also. We have not received any outside funds whatsoever. We cannot replace the Chicago public school system. We don't have funds, we don't have the space, we don't have the people. But the point is, we can show an alternative that works.
And that's what we're trying to do. How does local government affect the judicial process in Chicago? In Chicago, it controls it pretty much. It's impossible for a man to aspire to a judge ship unless he has been nominated through his ward organization. He has to serve his allegiance in some kind of way, and then he finds himself on the bench as a reward for faithful service to the party. So the whole fashion means that though there is the appearance of the people selecting their judges, that isn't what happens at all. Police brutality is an issue. But more to the point is the failure for the institution of police to provide some method by which people who have complaints and grievances against the police misconduct, which they euphemistically call excessive force, but we call police brutality. The history, of course, is just very, very simply known by everybody that it's an organization in the old fashion style, and it's really tight, and it really works. Works for the benefit of the politicians does not work for the benefit of the people who have to live under those politicians.
I think that in Chicago, as in most major cities, major initiatives has got to come from local government. The problems of cities are so massive that without leadership being provided by local government and resources in the form of money, being provided by state and federal government, they can't be attacked by the private sector alone. Now government can't do the job alone. It takes a cooperative effort between the government and the local communities, but clearly there's got to be leadership on the part of local government. Yet, in Chicago's black community, daily confrontations are a matter of reality. This one night, they stopped up there, and they put these bad brothers up against the wall just because they were standing there. So this brother, he resisted their attempt to harass him. He said, I haven't got a stand up here and be intimidated. He humiliated that you all, this is my equal rights just to be here. So he started walking away, so they called him back, so they were still harassing other brothers.
So he and I, he started swinging at him, but I think they killed him. He's just shot him. That's his turn. Seven times. Seven times. Seven times. All to the head. Search for the truth incorporated is an investigative community-based organization. In a city that has seen the Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial, the murder of Fred Hampton and the alleged murders by the Maumau, search for the truth members' field their organization is needed to publicize and unite their community. Last year, when the police investigation into the mysterious death of Seven Black Men was handled routinely, it was this organization which pushed for more serious examination of the case. Headed by Russ Meek, search for the truth fights for prison reforms, particularly in the area of legal aid. Meek regularly visits inmates at Pontiac Prison, where most of the population are Chicagoans. At Pontiac, the climate has been relatively progressive. On December 14, however, several weeks after our filming, there was a riot between inmates of rival gangs.
As a result, there has been a movement to remove the warden and curtail some of the progressive programs. We're in Pontiac Prison in the state of Illinois, in the city of Pontiac, and we have with us both the warden and the system warden. We also have some of the members of discussion on them to do our year against their will, that might say. What is your conception of prison life? I got too experienced in terms of being reborn. That has helped me. Prior to my coming year, I was not negative, but I was kind of vocal, kind of violent. My prison is dehumanized. What are you hiding? Do you agree with that? I would say probably more so when it's previous stance than it is now. We have a court system thing that worked out now. What we're trying to give some people choices in these places, not just to try to use hard court tactics. I do represent the first black person in the hundred years to be in this institution.
But even with the positive programs that function in this institution, it was brought out in a mechanical mission reported. The ingredients that set off Attica exist in the never institution throughout the United States. Warden, particularly, you've sat there quietly this name. And how do you feel about what he said? Obviously, it's kind of an unnatural setting. This most kind of tensions are. And we do have the great numbers that we have to deal with. But we're trying like the devil to meet needs of people. And we're trying very, it's very difficult on the occasion to try to get staff and inmates to work together in some common goal that says that we need each other for intelligent programming. So this points out to contradiction, you know, in the system of locking men in an institution, like this, in an abnormal situation. Now even with the positive types of programs that haven't happened, even while we sit in here, this institution is liable to go up.
And so there's something that's not being done. I think that, like, the American judicial penal complex must be totally dismountable as it exists now, because you cannot confine men in the other style setup, you know, where you're going to stack men on top of each other and expect them to conform. You have to let them back out into communities. Now, Illinois is going in that direction, but it hasn't, it hasn't reached that goal. Even though we do negotiate, you know, across the table, if it ever comes to a violent sort of situation, you know, all that breaks down and we have to revert back to animal instincts and you will, you know, like order us to be killed. We all are in prisons within ourselves, and we have just so much time to serve. We will never be free until we come to see the truth, which we do not love. We will never be free until we come to the table.
We will never be free until we come to the table. Thank you. Thank you.
- Black Journal
- Episode Number
- Black Chicago
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- WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
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- Episode Description
- Black Journal episode 315
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- Moving Image
Host: Brown, Tony (William Anthony)
Producing Organization: WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
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Identifier: cpb-aacip-512-hh6c24rp7v.mp4.mp4 (mediainfo)
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- Chicago: “Black Journal; 315; Black Chicago,” 1973-01-16, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 24, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-hh6c24rp7v.
- MLA: “Black Journal; 315; Black Chicago.” 1973-01-16. American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 24, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-hh6c24rp7v>.
- APA: Black Journal; 315; Black Chicago. Boston, MA: American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-hh6c24rp7v