Introduction

Introduction

Introduction A Changing Society View all topics for “A Changing Society” > 1 of 2 In many ways the dynamic change of the past twenty years has affected our customs, moral code, and our standards of behavior. It is not that the old principles of a good life do not apply, but they must be renewed in terms of new attitudes and new values caused by a changing society. Mayor Richard J. Daley, commencement address at the Illinois Institute of Technology, June 11, 1965. Richard J. Daley Collection The decades that Richard J. Daley served as mayor are remembered as among the most turbulent in the United States and Chicago. Nationally, the country suffered the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The Vietnam War inspired vigorous and vocal protests in opposition to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s foreign policy. The Civil Rights Movement brought about reforms over sometimes violent opposition. These national developments, along with others more specific to Chicago, presented Daley with numerous challenges. He met with civil rights leaders and took steps to address the problems of poverty, blighted urban areas, school segregation, and housing discrimination, although some critics believed he acted too slowly or ignored the needs of his poorer constituents. He defended President Johnson’s domestic policies while harboring personal doubts about the wisdom of the Vietnam War. When Chicago faced riots and other violent confrontations, Daley acted decisively, drawing criticism and praise for his decisions.     When they comment on these challenges, Mayor Daley’s friends, family, and former colleagues find his decisions understandable. Although they...
Race, Housing, and Poverty

Race, Housing, and Poverty

Race, Housing, and Poverty A Changing Society View all topics for “A Changing Society” > 1 of 10 Chicago’s ethnic and racial diversity helped make it the international city Daley celebrated. From World War I (1914-1918) onward, this diversity grew richer and more complex as hundreds of thousands of black Americans from the South moved to Chicago in search of better economic opportunities and freedom from the Jim Crow restrictions against their civil rights. In Chicago they found jobs, access to schooling, and some political representation. But black Chicagoans also found widespread discrimination. “Redlining”  and other practices shunted blacks into small, overcrowded ghettos on the city’s south and west sides. Black residents believed they did not enjoy the services and opportunities available to white Chicagoans. This de facto segregation, along with the related issues of poverty, proved difficult to resolve. 2 of 10 James Compton, a civil rights activist and the former president of the Chicago Urban League, discusses race relations and politics in Chicago while Daley was mayor. Click on image to play video. Video: James Compton, Civic Leader and Civil Rights Activist, interview excerpt, August 27, 2010 3 of 10 In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his colleagues came to Chicago to work with other likeminded activists to improve the conditions of urban slums, end housing discrimination, and expand access to public schooling.   4 of 10 Andrew Young was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1966 visit to Chicago. Click on image to play video. Video: Andrew Young, Mayor of Atlanta, interview excerpt, October...
A Key Year

A Key Year

A Key Year A Changing Society View all topics for “A Changing Society” > 1 of 10 I think 1968 was a key year, if not the most important, in recent history. And people forget how tense things were, how fluid. One of my memories from that week was being at home and seeing jets fly overhead. Military jets. And at the office, there were all these maps of the city laid out. There were maps like this of Vietnam, and now there were maps of Chicago. People forget how close the country was to tearing itself apart. Chicago suffered some of its worst race riots during the 1960s, most notably in April 1968 following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. William Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, December 5, 2008 2 of 10 Corporation Counsel Ray Simon recalls the April 1968 riots in Chicago. Click on image to play video.  Video: Ray Simon, Corporation Counsel City of Chicago 1965-1969, interview excerpt, June 30, 2010 3 of 10 Recollections of the April 1968 riots in Chicago. Click on image to play video. Video: William Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, January 12, 2009   4 of 10   Recollections of the April 1968 riots in Chicago. Click on image to play audio. Audio: Joseph Fitzgerald, Chicago Building Commissioner, interview excerpt, July 24, 2014 5 of 10 In 1968, Chicago hosted the Democratic National Convention at the International Amphitheatre. 6 of 10 Thousands demonstrated the week before and the week of the convention to protest the Vietnam War and the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Hubert...
Vietnam War

Vietnam War

Vietnam War A Changing Society View all topics for “A Changing Society” > 1 of 4 In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the United States sent increasing numbers of military advisors and later troops to South Vietnam to prevent a communist takeover in that country. American involvement in the war was extremely controversial and as the number of casualties mounted, opposition to the war became more organized and visible. 2 of 4 In those days, Vietnam was very controversial. And he knew that a lot of our friends were on either side. And he knew how hard it was. My brothers lost a very good friend. Jay McKeon was one of Michael’s best friends. He died in Vietnam. And he did not have to go. He should have been home. So it was a terrible war. It was not good on either side. Mary Carol Vanecko, daughter of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, March 5, 2009 Newton Minow discusses Mayor Daley’s personal doubts about the war. Click on image to play video. Video: Newton Minow, Chair of Federal Communications Commission 1961-1963, interview excerpt, October 2, 2003 3 of 4   Daley recommended, “You appoint a commission of five people….I’ll pick the three who would be against, you pick the two for it. It will go down three to two. It won’t be your decision. They’ll come back and say, “We recommend getting out.” But Johnson became very stubborn. The war machine was there with McNamara. A lot of Democrats were supporting this, the domino theory, and all of that. Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview...
New Rules

New Rules

New Rules A Changing Society View all topics for “A Changing Society” > 1 of 4 In the months leading up to the 1972 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party, hoping to ensure greater minority representation, adopted new rules for how delegates to its convention would be chosen. When its delegates met at the convention in Miami Beach, Florida, the party refused to seat the fifty-nine Chicago delegates elected in the Illinois Democratic Party primary. Daley had slated these delegates, and the party leadership claimed that the slating process had violated the new rules. Instead, the party seated an alternate slate of delegates. 2 of 4 Where I think he tended to make mistakes, it was that I think he had a fairly narrow group of advisors who were sometimes afraid of him and sometimes would be ‘yes’ men. I mean, somebody should have gone to the mayor and said, “These Democratic rules are a big problem. You’d better get on this thing.” Nobody did. Somebody should have gone to him before the convention and said, “You’re going to have a big problem here.” I don’t know that he welcomed some strong contrary advisors. But they certainly weren’t there. There was nobody who would say, “Mayor, you’re making a huge mistake here. Just wait a minute.” I don’t think he had that. So I think that was an error. Newton Minow, Chair of Federal Communications Commission 1961-1963, interview excerpt, October 2, 2003 3 of 4  My dad was thrown out of the convention. But that did not stop him from helping the McGovern candidacy. And I think if you...