Remembering Dr. King's impact on Chicago on the anniversary of his assassination | Bleader

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Remembering Dr. King's impact on Chicago on the anniversary of his assassination

Posted By and on 04.04.16 at 10:00 AM

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click to enlarge A 2000 mural of Martin Luther King Jr. remains on the north exterior wall of Kohn Elementary School,  April 18, 2013. - JESSICA KOSCIELNIAK/SUN-TIMES
  • Jessica Koscielniak/Sun-Times
  • A 2000 mural of Martin Luther King Jr. remains on the north exterior wall of Kohn Elementary School, April 18, 2013.

Editor's note:
The Reader has teamed up with Renata Cherlise, the founder of Blvck Vrchives, "a curated visual journey through history," to create multimedia narratives of black life in Chicago using the Sun-Times archives. Cherlise's first feature is dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated on this day in 1968.

In 1966, one year after the Selma to Montgomery Marches for voting rights, Martin Luther King Jr. trekked north to Chicago, moving his family into a west-side apartment at 1550 S. Hamlin. King, leading a group of protesters in the all-white neighborhood of Marquette Park as part of the Chicago Freedom Movement, rallied alongside the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to draw attention to the city’s racial inequalities in housing and education.

King was met with jeering, taunting, and rocks thrown at his head.

"I have seen many demonstrations in the south, but I have never seen anything so hostile and so hateful as I've seen here today," he said of his time in Chicago.



The footage intercut with the Sun-Times archival photos is from the 1963 March on Washington, where more than 200,000 supporters traveled from across the country to join King and other political and religious leaders in Washington, D.C., calling the nation's attention to harsh injustices for people of color.

It is here that women stepped over ropes, making their way through crowds of boys sitting on their fathers' shoulders to the Lincoln Memorial to hear King tell the world about his most vivid dream.

It was a dream that would later be interrupted one April evening by a bullet wound to his jaw. It severed his spinal cord, leaving thousands to mourn his death and come to terms with their worst nightmare.

Nearly 50 years later, Dr. King's dreams can still be heard echoing through the streets of Chicago in vigils, parades, protests, murals, and strolls along King Drive, formerly known as South Park Way.

Footage of March on Washington, 1963: Pond5
Photos used, by order of appearance:
1. Women protesting the march of the civil rights group in Marquette Park display signs. (August 6, 1966, Sun-Times Print Collection) 

2. Anti-integrationists picket in Winnetka prior to the arrival of Martin Luther King Jr. (Sun-Times photo by Mickey Rito, July 25, 1965)

3. Marquette Park, Chicago, August 5, 1966. King before he was hit by debris thrown by the crowd. (Sun-Times photo by Larry Nocerino)

4. King falls after being struck by a rock thrown from a taunting mob in Marquette Park. King said he'd never met such hostility, such hate, anywhere in his life. (Sun-Times photo by Larry Nocerino, August 5, 1966)

5. People near the corner of 63rd and Kedzie, where King and Al Raby, the Chicago Public Schools teacher instrumental in bringing King to Chicago, were to picket a real estate company on August 30, 1966. (Sun-Times Print Collection)

6.-9. Protest at 3808 W. Filmore, led by King, Raby, and a group of followers, 1966. (Sun-Times Negative Collection) 

10. Civil Rights Mass Meeting, Stone Temple Church, 3622 W. Douglas, Chicago, August 20, 1966. Reverend Jesse Jackson, kneeling, huddles with King (center) and Bernard Lee of King's staff at a mass meeting held in a west-side church, with Al Raby in background. (Sun-Times photo by Mickey Rito) 

11. Beautifully decorated auto moves along King Drive as part of the Black Easter Parade, April 6, 1969. (Sun-Times photo by Howard D. Simmons)  

12.-20. Candlelight vigil at PUSH Headquarters in 1983, held to commemorate the 15th anniversary of King's assassination. (Sun-Times Negative Collection) 

21. Enthusiastic Dunbar High School students couldn't wait for official street signs showing that South Park Way had been renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Senior Willie Thornton hung a new sign at the corner of 30th and King Drive while about 100 other students cheered. (1968, Sun-Times Print Collection) 

22.-40. King Drive, formerly South Park Way, Chicago, 1968. (Sun-Times Print Collection) 

41. A dotted line locates the third-floor walk-up at 1550 S. Hamlin that was home to King during his stay in Chicago. (January 25, 1966, Sun-Times Print Collection)

42. A 2000 mural of King remains on the north exterior wall at Kohn Elementary School (Sun-Times photo by Jessica Koscielniak)

43. Memorial services for King, 1974 (Sun-Times Negative Collection)

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