Next Tuesday, August 28, 2018, will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and the anti-Viet Nam War Protests that once again (after the ML King riots just five months earlier) turned Chicago into a battleground and divided our city and country into camps; the "law and order" crowd (what Nixon called the "Silent Majority" vs. the anti-war protestors. It was the final melee in a year of turmoil that had roiled the nation.
On January 15th, a few days ago, the New York Times ran an article entitled "50 Years Later, It feels Familiar: How America Fractured in 1968." I was struck by how I've used the same word, fractured, in the title of my book: Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago. I'm going to share just a portion of that year as covered in my book.
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.