Family Archaeologist explores a century of family letters, diaries, and artifacts, and how they illuminate history and our shared humanity. To get an overview of the blog, click: “Welcome to Family Archaeologist”
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Chicago and family history buffs (no pun intended) –and anyone who enjoys a good laugh, should get a kick out of today’s blog post. Summer is waning, giving way to back-to-school ads (sigh), and later sunrises, but the Lake Michigan water is nice and warm (71-73º) after a summer of sunshine. I thought it would be fun to celebrate beach [...]
At age 17, my mother became the sole support of her parents The Depression had destroyed 50% of all manufacturing jobs in Chicago. Her father was a tool and die maker, a machinist–and sixty-years-old to boot, so...tough luck for him. He got the boot. When the banker came around to demand their mortgage payments, he said, "Why don't you take your daughter out of school and send her to work to pay the mortgage?"
I was inspired to write this post by an article in the Guardian by @NatalieYMoore, Chicago’s South Side reporter for WBEZ. ("Don't let Simpson Blind us to Black Victims of Injustice.") Last week the focus was on OJ’s parole from prison for the 2008 sports memorabilia robbery. After serving nine years, he’ll probably be released early, from his thirty-three year sentence, in October. It took me back to another October–twenty-two years ago, 1995, when a jury acquitted OJ of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. The media were all over the story: Most blacks cheering; most whites were outraged.
Oh it was heavenly! He knows all the little innuendoes of kissing and I ain’t so bad m’self, if I do say so We kissed for about an hour and a half. Tonight was like a page from a storybook, and he definitely is the man I want to marry. Dear God, please let it come true!!
Two of the nation’s deadliest riots exploded 50 years ago–in July 1967, within two weeks of each other. July 11th 1967, The Newark Riots blew up on an early Sunday morning, after a cab driver was brutally beaten by Newark police. After four days of rioting, looting, and destruction, 26 were dead and hundreds injured. On July 23rd, 1967, Detroit erupted in a riot triggered by a police raid of an unlicensed after-hours bar, where 82 African Americans were celebrating the return of two local GIs from the Vietnam War.
"Thirty-seven-year-old Medgar Evers, Mississippi’s NAACP field secretary, was shot in the back with a high-powered rifle as he walked from his car to his home on June 12, 1963. He died an hour later. Again, mass black protests, followed by mass arrests were broadcast on TV around the world. I later learned that neighbors had heard Evers’s children screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” I thought of my daddy. What would I do without my daddy?
“…district threatened with Negro encroachment” is a direct quote from the portion shown here of a 1940 map of Chicago area neighborhoods, illustrating the color grade given to various areas by the New Deal’s creation, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC).
Standing under naked beams in the attic’s dim light, we discovered a large box labelled in my mother’s neat printing: “Lil and Fred’s Letters and Diaries.” I ripped off the packing tape and folded back four cardboard flaps. A misty spray of dust and the odor of old paper wafted up....