|Black migrants from the south borrowed Old Testament stories to describe their quest for freedom; 2013 Chicago and Detroit represent the culmination of this mythical march northward|
The early migrants had only vague notions of what they might expect at their destinations, and they often headed north with visions of fantastic wages and unbounded liberty. Moreover as the image of the North filtered south through the promises of agents, the glowing letters of friends, and the appeal of the Negro press [Chicago Defender], it took on a mythical quality that gave to the migration an almost religions significance. The rhetoric of the migration was highly charged with biblical imagery; the Flight out of Egypt; Bound for the Promised Land; Going into Canaan; Beulah Land. A party of migrants on their way from Mississippi to Chicago held solemn ceremonies when their train crossed the Ohio River; they stopped their watches, knelt down to pray, and sang the gospel hymn, “I Done Come out the Land of Egypt With the Good News.”The lure of the Promised Land was particularly compelling for the younger generation. The emotions engendered by the exodus was closely linked to a growing Negro race consciousness. Despite the wide variety of individual motives, the migration developed a certain coherence; it grew out of the Negro people’s common historical experiences and common grievances. (p. 130 -131)
Jameel Abdur-Rafia came to Harsh Park on Thursday to think about the meaning of it all.
He parked his SUV — a Honda Pilot with an "Eracism" bumper sticker — then walked into the little park and stood alone.
He looked around. The orange slides. The swing set. The metal canopy where Hadiya Pendleton and her friends had sought shelter from Tuesday's rain.
"Another little baby gone," he said when I approached.
He didn't know Hadiya or her family. Neither apparently did the few others who trickled past in the early afternoon, two days after Hadiya, who was 15, was shot in the back by a killer as yet uncaught.
Synira Allen, who lives a few blocks south, tucked a card behind the elephant. She was nudged toward the park, she said, by "a sense of urgency."
"It seems like a war on black youth in Chicago."
The war isn't new, and you could argue that it's not really worse than ever; it only feels that way lately. Allen, who remembers the organized gangs that ruled when she was in high school in the late 1980s, isn't sure it's worse or that Chicago is unique.
"This is going on in every urban city in America," she said. "Chicago's just being highlighted."
But Abdur-Rafia thinks some things have gotten worse since he was growing up not far away in the Clarence Darrow Homes, now demolished.
Over here on Oakenwald Avenue, he said, things were always different.
"This was always the nice part of the neighborhood."
Standing in the park, named after an African-American librarian, he looked up the street, at the mix of houses, brick and stone, mostly in good shape. "The dramas were a little bit west."
When the drama leaked onto this street Tuesday, taking another child's life, devastating another family, shaking the city deeper, the familiar cry rose: Why? What to do?
On Thursday, the mayor announced that 200 police officers would be reassigned to the streets. Abdur-Rafia had another suggestion.
"Jobs," he said. "People are just fighting for money. They want a nice car, a nice pair of shoes. We can send robots to Mars, and we can't stop the violence on the South Side of Chicago?"
It’s a melancholy thought to contemplate where white civilization (Western Civilization) could have sent humans were we not so busy funding the proliferation of a people whose greatest contribution to civilization has been the mandatory growth of a police state to patrol the ‘communities’ they create.
We could easily stop the violence on the South Side of Chicago, where those black migrants from the south – guided by delusions biblical in nature – set up shop and called it ‘home’. But what does it look like today? [Chicago murder rate far worse than during Al Capone 'gangland' days, ABC 7 Chicago, 2-2-13]:
The surprising stats show the city is worse off now in the category of murder than at the height of the era that has driven Chicago's reputation for almost a century, Capone's "gangland" Chicago.
Let's compare two months: January 1929, leading up to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and last month, January 2013. Forty-two people were killed in Chicago last month, the most in January since 2002, and far worse than the city's most notorious crime era at the end of the Roaring Twenties. January 1929 there were 26 killings.
Even though the image of Chicago, perpetuated by Hollywood over the years, was that mobsters routinely mowed down people on the streets, the crime stats tell a different story. January 2013's bloodshed has caught the attention of Chicagoans, politicians, the White House and people around the world.
Forty-two people were killed in Chicago last month, the most in January since 2002, and far worse than the city's most notorious crime era at the end of the Roaring Twenties.
With Friday's fatal gunshot attack on a vehicle on a Lake Shore Drive, February is starting as January left off. But if the current murder rate continues, February 2013 will far exceed February 1929, when there were 26 killings, and that number includes the attack known around the world, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. In that single slaughter, seven people were lined up against a warehouse wall on North Clark Street and gunned down. It was a bootlegging dispute between North and South Side mob gangs.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and relatives of victims of fatal shootings in Chicago urged President Barack Obama on Saturday to come back to his hometown and address the gun violence plaguing the city.
Before a march on the city's South Side, Jackson, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said America's third most populous city needed more help than Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police superintendent Garry McCarthy could offer.
"When the president shows up, it shows ultimate national seriousness," said Jackson, a Chicago resident. He also called for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help patrol the streets of Chicago.