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  • The Roosevelt Experiment

    The Roosevelt Experiment

    Why and how did an integrated college in a segregated city start in downtown Chicago just as World War II was ending? In 1984 an independent documentary filmmaker, Jeff Spitz, found old pictures and film footage about Roosevelt University including a magazine article that referred to the school as “The Roosevelt Experiment.”

    Tapping the memories of former students who crossed the color line, particularly Blacks and Jews, the film blends archival images and interviews into an exploration of race, racial quotas and democratic ideals. Former students recall being questioned during an anti-communist investigation that targeted their school.

    Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, a former student council president, shares poignant memories of getting into political
    arguments in the cafeteria. He called it an “insane but interesting place.”

    Shortly after the film’s release Spitz returned to City Hall to interview Mayor Washington about fairness, diversity and clashing visions of government. Mayor Washington’s additional commentary appears at the end of the video.

  • A Video Celebration of Black Chicago

    A Video Celebration of Black Chicago

    This video showcases Media Burn’s videos documenting Black life in Chicago. It includes everything from neighborhood cultural festivals to jazz and blues legends to trailblazing politicians. Follow the links to watch the full programs from which these excerpts were taken. 0:09 Journalist Vernon Jarrett (1918-2004) describes the intersection of 47th and Martin Luther King Drive in Bronzeville as the “terminal point of the great dream that so many Black people [from the South] envisioned,” from Omnibus: Studs Terkel’s Chicago (1985, […]

  • [We Are Many, We Are O.N.E. 1]

    [We Are Many, We Are O.N.E. 1]

    A meeting of residents and tenants rights organization in Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods with representatives of the Chicago Housing Authority that erupts into chaos.

  • [We Are Many, We Are O.N.E. 3]

    [We Are Many, We Are O.N.E. 3]

    A meeting of residents and tenants rights organization in Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods with representatives of the Chicago Housing Authority.

  • Chicago Area Project  (C.A.P.) Gathering  in Woodstock, Illinois

    Chicago Area Project (C.A.P.) Gathering in Woodstock, Illinois

    This video is one of three and was recorded during a retreat in Woodstock, Illinois where the Chicago Area Project (C.A.P.), organised a weekend gathering to reflect on their past accomplishments and plan for the next year.

  • In Memory of Frank Sullivan (1930-2021)

    In Memory of Frank Sullivan (1930-2021)

    Frank Sullivan, press secretary for Mayor Richard J. Daley from 1971-1976, died June 18 at the age of 91.  Prior to working for Daley, he served as spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department during the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Television viewers around the world then were shocked at live broadcasts of police beating anti-imperialist demonstrators. This was unprecedented violence and the origin of the now-famous protest cry, “The whole world is watching!” The independent Kerner Commission report determined that […]

  • America’s First Drag Queen President

    America’s First Drag Queen President

    “A presidential campaign is like a drag show.” Joan Jett Blakk In 1992, there was another candidate against Bush, and her name? Joan Jett Blakk. For Pride month, Media Burn is highlighting and celebrating the work of queer activists of the past. Blakk was the drag persona of performer Terence Smith, who was a performer and leader of Chicago Queer Nation in the 70s. In the 1990s, Blakk campaigned for various political positions, such as mayor of Chicago, President (as […]

  • When a Black King Ruled Chicago

 
 
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