Don't believe everything you read in the newspaper or see on TV about blacks in Chicago.
It is true that violence is rampant in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, but the actions of a few should not lead to unfair stereotypes of the majority. In fact, Chicago has always been the place where African-Americans could come to better their lives. I learned that after getting an e-mail about the upcoming WTTW documentary, DuSable To Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis, which airs on June 7.
The purpose of the show is to illuminate the overlooked connection between the city's unofficial founder - Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable - and the nation's first Black President, Barack Obama. It seems that only in Chicago can African Americans do extraordinary things. And the documentary couldn't have aired at a better time. Right now, morale is low in urban communities due to the economic and political climate. This in turn has led to more crimes in areas that usually aren't considered dangerous places. But a trip down memory lane might be just the trick to get people to hope again.
According to the notes that I kept, southern blacks came North to Chicago during the First Great Migration (circa 1915) in efforts to escape the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as to obtain high paying jobs. Now, the jobs are scarce and the violence has become a phenomenon within the race. Some of the folks interviewed for the show spoke of the decline in prosperity after the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington, passed away. But there are others interviewed who feel that the highs and lows of Black Chicago represent America as a whole.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to form your own opinion about a group of people after conducting adequate research. I can't guess what the temperature is just by looking outside. I must go out and see what it feels like. So, do more than just read about black folks in Chicago; Talk to some of us.
We're not so bad as they say we are.
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