In Memory of Frank Sullivan (1930-2021)

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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 what happened on the streets of Chicago was a “a police riot,” however Sullivan turned the blame on protesters, stating, “This is what happens when people charge a police line. There is blood that is shed.”

In this clip from 1986, Sullivan continues to defend the police’s actions as he squares off with civil rights and humanitarian activist and comedian Dick Gregory, who led marchers down Michigan Avenue the day after the protests. Gregory explains the harm caused by the Daley administration, such as indiscriminate tear gassing and conscious refusal to de-escalate with the protest’s leaders, and states it is consistent with how “Martin Luther King said [Chicago] was the ‘most racist town in America.’” Many of the same actions have been normalized, and even intensified in use, still today against Black protestors.

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The video is from the two-and-a-half-hour special broadcast on WTTW on the tenth anniversary of the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley.  It was produced by Media Burn founder Tom Weinberg and hosted by legendary Chicago journalist John Callaway.

Watch the clip here:

https://youtu.be/kA1G0XMdeXk

Watch the full video, which was a part of a special on Mayor Richard J. Daley, here:
https://mediaburn.org/video/daley-reel-2/?t=27:01 

 


 

The Film Group captured both Gregory and Sullivan in August 1968 in their series The Urban Crisis and the New Militants. The films have been preserved and made available by the Chicago Film Archives.

Police Power and Freedom of Assembly: The Gregory March: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aScZWVio44k 

Law and Order vs Dissent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fsK8LjAtp8

 

 

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