The looting last week of stores on West Madison was déjà vu for me. I remember the looting and arson after Dr. King’s murder in 1968. In the past 52 years, the city has ignored and disinvested in East and West Garfield. The federal policy of redlining destroyed African American prospects for wealth. I remember and compare 1968 to now and the absolute need to invest in the neediest communities of our city.
My dad and my two brothers, ages nineteen and thirteen, started shoveling out our car that had been mired for two days in snow after the city's greatest twenty-four hour snowfall had brought Chicago to a standstill. They were down near thirty-third and Wentworth, close to IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) where my older brother, Paul attended, but commuted from our home on Keeler near Montrose. As they dug in their shovels around each of the tires, tossing snow over their shoulders, a group of twelve African American men moved toward them with determined strides.