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Chicago



  • Timuel Black, 102: Historian and Organizer of Black Chicago

    Timuel Black mobilized the political power of the predominantly Black South Side of Chicago, taught others — including a young Barack Obama — how to do the same, and in his final decades compiled oral histories giving voice to his community’s Black working class.



  • How the Chicago Fire Changed the City's Architecture

    Chicago-based historians D. Bradford Hunt and Dominic Pacyga argue that the Great Fire of 1871 did impact the city by inaugurating an age of big renewal plans, as well as through the city's prized architecture and parks. 



  • In Slasher Film ‘Candyman,’ the Horror Is U.S. Housing Policy

    by Brentin Mock

    “Candyman isn't the only ghost in this show,” says Stanford Carpenter, a cultural anthropologist based in Chicago. “The other ghost is Cabrini-Green. In both cases, the thing that makes them scary is that they were made that way by white systemic racism.”



  • Chicago Versus Lake Michigan

    The history of Chicago is defined by efforts to tame water for navigation, sanitation, and drinking. Climate change is raising the stakes of that battle. 



  • When Monuments Go Bad

    Chicago is engaging in a broad and unprecedented study of the city's monuments and the political and cultural implications of memorialization in public space. Will this help avoid the bitter controversies and protests that have erupted in other cities? 



  • Some Representations of Native Americans Erase their History

    by Hayley Negrin

    "Visibly racist and inaccurate representations of Indigenous people in public spaces send a message to Indigenous people everywhere that they are not in control of their own destiny, that they are not permitted to define themselves. The process of conquest continues."



  • A Mansion Sale Built on the Myth of a Notorious Cow

    The Chicago Fire of 1871 has been the wellspring of plenty of myths. A real estate listing for a southside mansion is just the latest. Historians Carl Smith and Ann Durkin Keating comment. 



  • A Monumental Error in the Making

    by Harold Holzer

    Daniel Chester French's statue "The Republic" is on a list of public monuments to be reviewed by the city of Chicago. Removing it would be destroying an important link to the city's past. 



  • "Judas and the Black Messiah" Is an American Tragedy

    The performances of the lead actors in "Judas and the Black Messiah" elevate the story of Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton's assassination by the police and FBI to a complex story of the Black freedom movement. 



  • What ‘Defund the Police’ Really Means

    by Simon Balto

    The debate about "defunding police" must return to the community-driven vision of activists like assassinated Black Panther Fred Hampton, who envisioned a program of community empowerment that could divert the vast resources spent on policing toward other social ends. 



  • Cleveland and Chicago: Cities of Segregation

    "Berlin had a wall, but they took to it with hammers and pickaxes and tore it down. Cleveland and Chicago have walls too, but not the kind you can tear down with a pickaxe. They’ve been erected in places that are harder to reach than a river or a street: bitter, entrenched hearts and minds, both black and white, going back for generations, on either side of town."