Chicago and Dr. Martin Luther King

The media is full of stories about the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963, and I’ve been thinking about the connections between Chicago, the March on Washington, and for “Jane’s Walk CHICAGO,” (for lack of a better name).

The most obvious connection is the fact that Dr. King came to Chicago in the summer of 1966 and stayed in a three-flat at 1550 South Hamlin. That building was demolished long ago, but there are many stories to tell about the Chicagoans and local churches, buildings and sites involved in Dr. King’s campaign for social change through nonviolent resistance.

There are so many opportunities for one-of-a-kind experiences in Chicago. For example, there are several potential walks in the Lawndale neighborhood alone, that could include the sites associated with Dr. King’s visit, and several more on important events and places that have occurred since 1966. And there are yet other walks in Lawndale that could include the subjects of the Contract Buyers League, community gardens and tours of the original Sears complex. I’d very much like to include a sample of these ideas in the 2014 Walks.

There are certainly more stories beyond Lawndale to be told, inspired by Dr. King’s Chicago visit. This week, I was privileged to see “Remixing the March,” a show put on by summer students at the Goodman Theatre. (My daughter was one of those students.)

The show took the idea of racial equality and expanded it to include everyone in the community – gay, straight, transgender, Latino, Asian, the elderly, the young, the differently-abled (and even those of below-average height!) It told these stories in a powerfully vivid way, that I hope we can continue as Jane’s Walk Chicago expands around the city.

P.S. Maybe August wasn’t a great time to start trying to collect data… or maybe I phrased my request for information the wrong way. In any event, I haven’t yet received feedback on my questions in last week’s post, so I’ll ask them again, to the 120 people who joined our Walks in May are:

• What made you choose the Walk(s) you participated in?
• What was most memorable about what you saw, and why?
• What else did you see, or learn, or think about?
• What do you wish had been included?

And for however many of you out there, who weren’t with us in May, but might like to join us in the future:
• Are there particular neighborhoods you’d like to visit on a Walk?
• What appeals to you about each one?
• Are there other neighborhood-based experiences you think we should be thinking about?

Please be as verbose or as terse as you like… I look forward to posting your thoughts!

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