3/22/24: South Side Seventies: A Video Celebration of Black Chicago

A screening of historic videos celebrating Chicago's Black communities.

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Mayor Harold Washington from Bill Stamets’ Chicago Politics: A Theatre of Power

A special screening of our favorite rarely-seen historic videos from the the South Side and Chicago’s Black communities. These candid, warm, and sometimes hilarious portraits are revealing and provide an authentic portrayal of African American life and culture in Chicago – something that mainstream film and TV often neglected. The program includes profiles of bus drivers, boxers, and politicians, touching tributes to families and celebrations of the achievements of Black Chicagoans, joyful music and righteous protests. All made by locals providing insight into their own lives and communities. Presented by Media Burn, the University of Chicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the University of Chicago Arts and Public Life.

Watch the full program below:

This program includes:

  1. Vernon Jarrett in Omnibus: Studs Terkel’s Chicago. Legendary journalists Terkel and Jarrett talk about Jarrett’s history in Bronzeville, and the importance of the intersection 47th and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and the surrounding area for Black Chicago. Produced by Mike Dibb. Watch full program HERE.
  2. MaryAnn: A loving portrait of a teen girl, made by her two younger sisters. Produced with Denise Zaccardi and CTVN. More information HERE.
  3. Interview in the Robert Taylor Homes’ laundromat: A high school student living in the Robert Taylor Homes interviews two adorable young children. Produced with Denise Zaccardi and CTVN. Watch the full program HERE.
  4. The Barrett Sisters in Cook County Hospital Rally. A rally and protest march from Chicagoans trying to prevent the closing of Cook County Hospital, with a lovely, moving performance of “Don’t Believe He Brought Me This Far” by South Side gospel group The Barrett Sisters. Produced by Judy Hoffman. Watch the full program HERE.
  5. Golden Gloves: A touching documentary about promising young boxer James Blevins that follows him through both thrilling victories and devastating defeats, as he begins to realize the realities of making a life and a career in the ring. Produced by Tom Weinberg and Scott Jacobs. More information HERE.
  6. Cabrini Dreams: A brief impression of Cabrini Green, made by and about high school students who lived there. Produced with Denise Zaccardi and CTVN. More information HERE.
  7. “Wheelin’ Lovin’ Al” in It’s A Living: A portrait of Alfred Pommier, an exuberant, hugely entertaining parking lot attendant beloved by his community, who had been inspiring devoted loyalty from his customers for decades. Produced through Videopolis. Watch the full program HERE.
  8. Dance at the Robert Taylor Homes: Kids from the Robert Taylor Homes perform an elaborately choreographed dance routine to “You’re the One that I Want” from Grease. Produced with Denise Zaccardi and CTVN. Watch the full program HERE.
  9. “Englewood” in Municipal Mirth: Interviews and performances from the 1979 Englewood summer arts and music festival. Produced  by Nick Despota, Scott Jacobs, and John Mabey. Watch the full program HERE.
  10. Harold Washington in Chicago Politics: A Theatre of Power: Rarely seen footage of Mayor Harold Washington in which he candidly speaks about the racist history of the city and its mayors. Produced by Bill Stamets. Watch the full program HERE.
  11. House Music in Chicago: A short documentary on the opening of the Power House in Chicago in October 1986. Featuring legendary DJs Frankie Knuckles and JM Silk.

Related programs/also of interest:

  • Talent show and DJ set/dancing at Club LaRay: February 24, 1987. Full Club LaRay collection HERE.
  • 7.5 lbs/second: Chicago families grilling in the park talk about their bbq menu. Watch HERE
  • Festival de Mujeres: A documentary about the first Women’s Street Fair in Pilsen, 1979, featuring readings by poets Salima Rivera and Marta Callazo. Watch HERE.
  • The Ambassadors of Cabrini: A short documentary about the Jesse White Tumblers. Watch HERE.
  • What’s Uptown?: An exploration of the inhabitants that formed the diverse communities of the Uptown neighborhood in the late 1970s. Watch HERE.
  • Cosmo’s Cosmos: A portrait of eccentric, Hyde Park-based sculptor Cosmo Campoli. Watch HERE.


The post-screening discussion (not recorded) featured L. Anton Seals, Jr. (Grow Greater Englewood) and Denise Zaccardi (Community TV Network), moderated by A.E. Stevenson (UChicago department of Cinema and Media Studies).

AE Stevenson is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies. She is currently working on her book manuscript where, through an analysis of Vine, TikTok, Instagram’s The Shade Room, and “blackfishing,” she argues that Black women and girls have fundamentally changed the visual language of the Internet. She has published in Feminist Media Histories and Catalyst.

Denise Zaccardi is Executive Director and founder of Community Television Network (CTVN). She holds a Ph.D. in Communications from The Union Institute and wrote the nation’s first dissertation on media arts curriculum for low-­income, minority youth. She earned an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from State College in Buffalo, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Dayton. Dr. Zaccardi has put together a team of seasoned artist/teachers carefully selected not only for their exceptional ability to engage and teach disaffected youth; but to represent a broad range of vital skills and knowledge including psychology, marketing, organizational dynamics, writing, audio, editing, producing, directing, graphics, and animation.

L. Anton Seals Jr. is an organizer, entrepreneur, educator, community connector, Impact producer. Anton’s work is dedicated to service and active engagement through the use of media arts, community organizing, and empowerment to dismantle oppressive systems impacting divested and oppressed communities. Anton is currently the Lead Steward (Executive Director) of Grow Greater Englewood, a social enterprise focusing on building an equitable and resilient local food system that fosters protections of vacant land in divested communities and focuses on connecting those residents with community wealth-building opportunities.

This program took place in conjunction with the symposium Guerrilla Television: The Revolutions of Early Independent Video, taking place April 19-21 at the University of Chicago and presented by Media Burn Archive, the University of Chicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the Video Data Bank. This symposium – and a series of related screenings and discussions – brings together artists, scholars, and archivists to discuss the legacies of this crucial but underappreciated era of independent media.

A still from Mary Ann, by CTVN and Denise Zaccardi.



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